There are times where a guy has to challenge himself. This week, the challenge is to pretend that anything interesting happened in college football. To that end, I aim to make this week’s Saturday in Review an exciting, thrill-a-minute palooza of pure joy. I’m going to cut to the quick, and tell you exactly what was interesting in each and every game from the Top 25. Let’s begin, shall we?
Fresno State-0, #4 Boise State-51
What was interesting: The fact that this game was on Friday! And the fact that the top 3 teams in the nation had the week off. Congratulations, Boise State, for biting the bullet and actually playing a game in late November. That was very noble of you! Also interesting, the fact that this game is Boise’s 4th highest point total on the year! So congrats to Fresno State, who held the Broncos to fewer points than Idaho, New Mexico State, or Toledo!
Ole Miss-36, #5 LSU-43
What was interesting: When isn’t an LSU game interesting? They successfully beat Alabama, went down to the Swamp and beat Florida, and narrowly clipped mediocre Tennessee at home. Heck, they struggled with McNeese State for about a half. I’m really hoping that the Arkansas game this week goes into double overtime and LSU wins on a fumbled extra point that the long snapper picks up and lugs into the endzone. Hey, a guy can dream.
#6 Stanford-48, Cal-14
What was interesting: The fact that Stanford’s mascot is the Cardinal. That’s singular! They’re one of a very few teams whose mascot doesn’t end in “s.” And that’s about the only thing that’s interesting about a 48-14 game, especially one that was 45-0 going into the 4th quarter.
#7 Wisconsin-48, Michigan-28
What was interesting: What’s interesting? Well, I get to write a letter! That’s interesting, dang it!
Hey, it’s me again. You never respond to my letters. I originally thought it was because you were so busy with that tough schedule that includes nonconference giants such as UConn and UMass and Bowling Green. Any hoo, I’m glad that you made it out of the nonconference slate untouched by defeat, because it meant you only had to win 2 conference games to make a bowl. You did, so congratulations. But you still haven’t replied to any of my letters! You still have yet to explain exactly why you fired Lloyd Carr. Was it because he lost that one game to App State? Because since then you guys are undefeated against 1-AA schools, so I guess that’s an accomplishment. Mind you, you’ve only beaten two ranked teams since the ’07 season, and neither of those schools finished the season in the Top 25. You have no defense and your offense tends to fall apart against teams that are even remotely decent at defending. In short, you have successfully attained mediocrity. I really can’t wait to read the newspaper articles in 2011, proclaiming that you are back and that Denard Robinson is going to lead you to a Big 10 title in 2011. Until then, enjoy your trip to the Big Al’s House of Staplers Bowl in Paducah, Kentucky.
PS: Wisconsin…keep winning! I really really really want to see how the BCS explains Ohio State leapfrogging you for the conference title!
#8 Nebraska-6, #19 Texas A&M-9
What was interesting: Conspiracy theories! Crummy offense! Bo Pelini looking like the villain from a poorly made Sci-Fi film! (Full disclosure, that picture is from the ’08 Virginia Tech game) Plus, the lone Top 25 upset of the week! This was a great game. Unless of course you like to watch halfway decent offense or good officiating. In that case, the game was more infuriating and less entertaining. Also of interest, one of my first truly random stats o’ the year:
Nebraska’s record against teams in the state of Texas: 0-2
Nebraska’s record against teams from anywhere else in the country: 9-0
Here’s hoping for the Huskers that they don’t get TCU in their bowl game…
#9 Ohio State-20, #20 Iowa-17
What was interesting: I had a full writeup of this planned, then Ohio State’s president said something impossibly stupid. So you know what? As much as I am pained to do it, I will be cheering for Michigan this weekend. It beats listening to this tripe.
#10 Oklahoma State-48, Kansas-14
What was interesting: Oklahoma State’s presence in the Top 10 is pretty dang interesting. In the sense that they’re there because no one else can say “we only have one loss.” Kansas is also interesting, in the same way that a train wreck is interesting.
Purdue-31, #12 Michigan State-35
What was interesting: Purdue almost ruined my dream of a three-way Big 10 tie! And Michigan State looked horrible for three quarters, something they can’t afford to do against a Penn State team that isn’t great, but much better than Purdue.
#13 Arkansas-38, #21 Mississippi State-31 (2OT)
What was interesting: Double overtime in the SEC? Hey, man, that’s pretty exciting! Mind you, thanks to our current system, no one out side of the deep south legitimately believes that this game had any effect on anything. If Arkansas can beat LSU this coming weekend they may sneak into a BCS bowl. Yeah, try that on for size…
#14 Oklahoma-53, Baylor-24
What was interesting: I can’t use the “Baylor’s back to being Baylor” joke 3 times in a row, can I? Yes, I can. If this game with this score had happened last year, it’d be totally unremarkable. I’ll put this another way: Anyone remember ’08, when Vandy climbed into the top 15, then finished by barely making a bowl game? Yeah, that’s this year’s Baylor squad. Also interesting: The fact that Oklahoma could still conceivably make the Big 12 title game and a BCS Bowl by beating Oklahoma State this weekend. Frankly, I hope it happens so people will stop acting like the Big 12 is a power conference…
#15 Missouri-14, Iowa State-0
What was interesting: Iowa State stuck with the Missouri and the only other ranked team in their division of the Big 12 (Nebraska). It’s weird, because they seem to be right on the cusp of having a great season (or a decent one) but they never seem to get above .500. They ended this season at 5-7, though, so no bowl for the Cyclones. Missouri, meanwhile, has to beat Kansas and hope that Colorado upsets Nebraska. In other words, there is a major battle going on out in the states that only about 12 people live in. Yeah, I might have East Coast Bias, but that’s just because I can’t watch any games from West of the Mississippi…
#16 Virginia Tech-31, #24 Miami-17
What was interesting: I’ve spent some time on the ESPN forums. It was a mistake, but I did learn something critical: Miami fans still think their program is legitimate. I swear, it’s true! Hey, man, it’s funny to me, too. Miami, which hasn’t come close to winning a title since their last one, has a fan base that still thinks they should be in the title chase year in and year out. At what point do they qualify as Notre Dame South?
Other interesting bit: The last time Virginia Tech won this many games in a row was in 1999, the only year the Hokies have ever been to the National Title game. Sad that this year it came after 2 straight losses.
Last bits of interesting bits in this game: 1) Virginia Tech clinched their division of the ACC, 2) those Miami fans that think they’re relevant are the same ones who left their stadium 3/4ths empty by the end of Saturday’s game, and 3) there’s still quite a bit of lingering hatred between Virginia Tech and Miami fans, just in case you couldn’t tell.
Troy-24, #17 South Carolina-69
What was interesting: That SEC teams are allowed to do this in November. (See also: The Alabama game that I refuse to write about because it’s a travesty. No, I’m not even going to provide a link to it.)
New Mexico State-6, #19 Nevada-52
What was interesting: Not much. This game sets up a big matchup between Boise and Nevada to end the season. The BCS is praying that the Wolf Pack stay in the game. I guess it’s also interesting that D-1A (FBS) programs in New Mexico are a combined 3-19. That is…remarkably bad.
#23 Utah-38, San Diego State-34
What was interesting: Well, a team from Utah beat San Diego State without having alumni in the replay booth. I guess that’s newsworthy. Also newsworthy are the Aztecs, who have gone from 4-8 to 7-4. Those four losses are by a combined 15 points. That, my friends, is a pretty impressive turnaround. In the interest of equality, congrats to Utah for pulling out of that 2 game skid. If the Utes beat BYU this weekend, they should be able to go to a halfway decent bowl game! Hooray!
#25 Florida State-30, Maryland-16
What was interesting: Surprisingly, this game was only blown open when Maryland threw a pick-six in the red zone with under a minute left in the game. That loss knocked Maryland out of the hunt for the ACC Championship game. That’s right, the ACC was bad enough this season that MARYLAND was in the hunt for the conference title until the second to last game of the year. Also interesting: Florida State has gone from “Beat Maryland, beat Maryland, beat Maryland!” to, “Go Terps, go!” If Maryland wins this weekend, the ‘Noles go to the ACC Championship game. Otherwise, NC State will play Virginia Tech in Charlotte on December 4th. Either way, it will be a matchup to determine who goes to a BCS Bowl. (That sound you’re currently hearing is the collective vomiting of fans of SEC and Big 10 schools whose Top 10 ranked squads won’t get into BCS games because of the Big East and ACC Champions. You’re welcome, kids. Got a problem with it? Change the system!)
So that’s all for the interesting stuff. Now, let’s get vindictive with…
Tales from the Bottom 95
First off, apologies to Sloppy whose article about this Saturday used the term “uneventful.” So I wrote this whole thing with my tongue firmly in my cheek, to prove how “eventful” even a boring Saturday can be…In actual sports news, NC State beat Carolina in a thriller. Well, a thriller so long as you were willing to ignore the fact that it was ACC football..Also, I can’t believe I didn’t note that this was the 4th straight Saturday in Review without a single mention of the Big East. Seriously, unless they go undefeated in the bowls, the Big East might consider relinquishing BCS status. At least the ACC has 2 ranked teams. Heck, at least the ACC has more than one team with 3 losses or fewer…For now…Tennessee beat Vandy, meaning the Vols are one win away from another crummy bowl!…Special thanks to Oregon State for smacking Southern Cal around…Florida beat App State 48-10, in a battle of teams that I’m Constitutionally obligated to despise…Georgia Tech attained bowl eligibility by beating Duke by 10 at home. O! How the mighty have fallen!…Eastern Michigan picked up their second win on the season, so a non-sarcastic congrats to the Eagles…The San Jose State Spartans, owners of a murderous schedule, are 1-10 following a road loss to Hawaii. Oh, well, at least they got to go to Hawaii…
And I was going to type something about the game at Wrigley, but ESPN pounded us over the head with that one so much that I no longer care. Oh, well. See you next Saturday!