After yesterday’s slate of games, the soundtrack for this episode should be pretty obvious. Onward!
Ain’t chaos beautiful? While the end result may be less than desirable, you’ve got to be amazed at the ways that each week is different, each week has the possibility for the unexpected and amazing. And this week was proof positive that the football gods have both a sense of humor AND a mischievous side.
We start on Friday, with a shout out and hat tip to our BFF’s from Ames who saw their mighty Cyclones upset the #2 ranked Cowboys of T. Boone Pickens U. It was a perfect “storm” of sorts- ISU’s freshman quarterback played the game of his life, while Gundy’s squad seemed incapable of being able to hang onto the ball and put points on the board. Somehow, a team that managed to shut out Texas Tech at home couldn’t cover a basic wheel route; a Cyclone TD and a senior citizen moment from Weeden ended any hopes that Oklahoma State had at playing for the national championship… at least, so it would seem (more later).
Congrats to Coach Paul Rhodes and his staff for getting his team prepared to square off against the ‘Pokes, and for having Iowa State bowl eligible once again.
So- we had early warnings that something was astir in this week’s slate of games, but “The Oracle” was able to solidify our beliefs that it was going to be an unforgettable experience. I’ll just link to Lee Corso’s commentary, since it’s not all that family friendly; let’s remember a) he had a stroke a while back and b) he spoke the truest college preview that’s ever been spoken.
While there were other moments during Saturday afternoon that put the “W” in WTF, the evening’s games were the ones that made the biggest difference. Earlier in the fall, sports fans were treated to an amazing ten minutes of baseball, with the Red Sox loss to Baltimore and the Rays win over the Yankees. Saturday gave us a similar spate of excellence, starting in Eugene Oregon.
Southern Cal headed into their game against the Ducks with four straight losses in the road, and knowing that no one beats the Ducks with only a week to prepare. However, the Trojans knew that this was their bowl game; on the final year of their NCAA post season ban, this would also serve as the de-facto PAC 12 championship game. Matt Barkley, who has had a number of amazing games this season, was able to continue the aerial assault against the Ducks, while the Trojan defense limited LaMichael James’ big plays on the way to the upset of the number four team in the country. The SC wide receiver corps has really come on late in this season; which is good since the scholarship reductions for SC have yet to kick in- they have at least one area that they can rely on for future offensive prowess. As Brett said on twitter, combind with ISU’s win it was a good week to dress like USC.
Then, we all flipped over to the Oklahoma/Baylor game, where the Bears had been ahead for most of the contest. The fans in Waco were confident, though, and seemed to have channeled the events of the day in order to catch lightening in a bottle:
When I started watching, OU had just scored and had decided to go for two until someone Shugarted; Stoops elected to kick and tie the Bears with little time left on the clock. As BU began to drive down the field, Big Game Bob does what he does, and calls a time out that allows Baylor to get a break and run a play. If you haven’t seen it, here’s RG3′s “Braxton Moment”.
After the win, the healing began- particularly for the young woman from the Baptist school who took her Biblical Studies major seriously. Nothing going’s to keep her from celebrating, y’all.
So, I need to say that I feel somewhat responsible for this. After all, earlier on Saturday I supported Bob Stoops as a potential candidate for the Ohio State job, in spite of my normal reservations regarding all things Chokelahoma. But, as someone who was at last year’s massacre in Waco, I can completely support the excitement of the Bears’ first win against OU ever. Especially if the additional results are so glorious.
Even the mighty S!E!C! wasn’t immune to whatever was swirling in the winds this past weekend: Florida was down several scores to Furman in the first half, Alabama was given more than they could handle by Georgia Southern, the Citadel kept it close to South Carolina, and Samford game Auburn a game early on. Maybe that “Hey! Let’s schedule one of our cupcakes at the end of the season!” idea wasn’t the bolt of genius that everyone thought, huh?
Even in the “real” SEC games, there was some controversy. Tennessee held off Vanderbilt in overtime, although the game should have ended in regulation… nice to see that it’s not just the B1G who has terrible officials19. SEC East Champion Georgia did all they could to distract Kentucky fans from hoops season, and only managed to squeak out a 19-10 victory in Lexington. Even stranger- Up 52-3 and on their own goal line, LSU takes a knee… with five minutes to go in the game. All hail Lester Miles, the king of the trolls.
Florida and Texas (who lost to Kansas State on Saturday, the KSU program who only managed 121 total yards) are two programs that have got to make Ohio State fans feel warm and fuzzy- they are both struggling for the second straight year. Mizzouri waived “goodbye” to Texas Tech with a last second win at home, and Kansas continues to be Kansas. Funny, ain’t it, that Turner Gill is higher paid than Mike Gundy.
The B1G was the “stability” conference- no huge upsets or surprises, although Illinois had a chance against Wisconsin early in their matchup. TTUN took advantage of Nebraska’s miscues, and put Brady Hoke one win away from surpassing his predecessor’s conference wins for the totality of his season. Lllllloyd Carr was honored at halftime: wonder if they did a reading of his finest moments post retirement.
As a palate cleanser, check out this great tribute to Dr. Woods from halftime at the PSU game.
In other strangeness, Arizona upset an Arizona State team that many were picking as the PAC-12 South team to beat following their upset of USC. Afterwards, Dennis Erickson is reported to have told his staff that he is retiring.
We can’t leave the ACC out of the unusual turns that happened on Friday, and top teams in conference didn’t disappoint- Florida State dropped their match against Mike London’s Virginia Cavaliers, and couldn’t take advantage of Clemson’s failures against North Carolina State and move into a slot in the ACC Championship Game. With these two bug guns falling to the wayside, you’d think that they’d be the lead story- but the ACC moment of the week (and hit of the week) has to be this play from Duke:
Currently, LSU, Alabama, and Arkansas sit atop the BCS standings heading into the final week of the “regular” season. Other than their place in the SEC West, what else do all of these programs have in common? They are among some of the most egregious oversigners in the NCAA. Look, you should know how I feel about this… why not check out an opinion from someone decidedly smarter than me.
While there are those who would not want to see an all-SEC championship game (raises hand), an even more interesting phenomenon would be for Arkansas to upset LSU this weekend and then lose to Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. That would lead to a situation where LSU and Alabama would each have only one loss, but neither would have won their conference. I’m sure there’s some sort of convoluted tie-breaker idea that’s in play here… I still feel a playoff would answer the question (as long as teams from the same conference are required to play each other in the first round)
So, other than the Big Integer, we officially enter “Rivalry Week”. This week’s matchups include Texas and aTm for what could be the last time, Georgia and Georgia Tech (“Clean, Old Fashioned, Hate”), Carolina/Duke, Indiana and Purdue, Clemson/Stanford, while the Nebraska and Iowa rivalry has a nickname and a trophy now.
Stanford faces Notre Dame, while the Battle For Los Angeles has implications for the PAC-12 championship game. Auburn and Alabama meet up in this year’s edition of the Iron Bowl… who knew SEC fans had discovered the internet? There’s also the Apple Cup in Washington, the Egg Bowl in Mississippi, The Border War (Kansas/Missouri) and the Civil War (Oregon/Oregon State).
Oh, and Ohio State travels to their second home in an attempt to salvage their season. Here’s a little reminder of what happened the last time these teams met under these circumstances: