Ah, fall… the wind turns brisk and in Los Angeles the birds turn colors and fall from the trees (ht: David Letterman). We talked last week about “pumpkinitis” that’s sweeping the country… some people are taking it seriously. Instead of subjecting yourself to such a task, take time to kick back with some new tunes and enjoy a great weekend in college sports.
In case you haven’t noticed (and if you haven’t, please PLEASE let me know how you’re managing to pull that off), it’s election season. And you thought the BCS was complicated and overwrought… three more weeks, people. You can do it.
“But Mali- there’s never been politics on tBBC… what gives?”
That’s a fine point, but it’s the only way I could think of to lead into this week’s “marquee” matchup. Given how much they like football, I’m sure that there was some tension on the Romney/Ryan campaign bus when Notre Dame and BYU squared off in South Bend. (See, ’cause one candidate is a Mormon and the other is a Catholic… oh, nevermind.) Yup, The Golden Domers met the People of the Golden Plates, with the former looking to continue their undefeated season. The Cougars managed to do something that was pretty rare this season, and scored an offensive touchdown against a resurgent Irish defense, led by Heisman (?) candidate linebacker Manti Te’o. It wasn’t enough, though, as they fell to .500 in a 17-14 loss to Brian Kelly’s team, who was led by backup quarterback Tommy Rees’ and his one completed pass after halftime. So, yeah- that Notre Dame fan in your office has yet another week to be a bit boisterous regarding his fifth ranked favorite squadron.
In order to make sure I cover both sides of the 2012 election, here. Ok, I’m done talking religion and politics… you can come back now.
On the topic of mistakes that I’ve made recently, I’m more than willing to acknowledge that my purchasing the hype regarding West Virginia was misguided. They still seem to be a Big lEast team of sorts, where defense is even more optional than it has been in the B12 lately. This isn’t to take anything away from the October Heisman frontrunner; Colin Klein has rightfully taken the crown from Mr. September, particularly in their “head to head” contest on Saturday. The Wildcats now sit at 7-0 , and even managed to jump Oregon in the BCS rankings this week, all the way up to #3. While I won’t argue with the BCS… At least Oregon beat a team this week that had a defensive pulse. We’ve not seen that from West Virginia, so it’s hard to assess Kansas State’s victory fully. Hooray subjectivity!
Although this is traditionally a “Saturday” wrap up, the truth of the matter is that Thursday’s game between the Ducks and Arizona State was pretty freaking impressive. After an initial ASU score, Oregon cranked up it’s offensive game and scored 43 points before there was even ten minutes left in the second quarter. Mercifully, they pulled back the horses at that point- although, they certainly could have kept rolling if they chose to… when a team scores on a two point conversion this easily, you’ve got to know that they are only stopping themselves for the rest of the game. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think that Chip Kelly was pissed that his team was only ranked third in last week’s BCS- since they actually fell one slot this week, I’m afraid to see what happens to this week’s
At the top of this week’s ticket was the matchup between the remains of the Florida Gators and the South Carolina Clowneys… and, well, uh- It weren’t much of an offensive show, especially in the first half. Numerous miscues led to the Gators and Gamecocks getting short field position, which made the 29 yards of total offense that Florida achieved in the first half not as significant as the 21 points that they had on the scoreboard. Don’t really need more than two first downs if you have drives of less than five yards for scores. While the final was a lopsided 44-11 over a previously seventh ranked team, you can tell that Coach Muschamp was not satisfied with his team’s efforts in the first half. I’m not really sure how I figured that out… let’s just say that I have a pretty good read on these kinds of things. Nonetheless, it was something that the well mannered fans of The Swamp could certainly celebrate with the decorum and southern genteel mannerisms that are testaments to their upbringing.
While Texas mourned the loss of a legend (can’t really blame him after what happened under his watch last week), they did manage to find some offensive answers this week. Although, playing the Baylor Bears’ flag football defense can do that for you- remember, they’re the reason Geno Smith won that September Heisman we mentioned earlier. Texas is still struggling on defense, giving up fifty to the Bears. It could be possible that they were too busy looking at the lovely actress that was present as a part of a film shoot- Hello, Luke Skywalker’s Mom! Mack Brown must have picked up some pointers from his former assistant coach about proper ways to hold halftime conversations, although you know that he’s a lot more subtle about it.
Hey, let’s get an early start on our Penn State preview by acknowledging that the Lions are playing really well now, as is evidence by their total dismantling of the B1G Coach Of Forever Kirk Ferentz’ Iowa Hawkeyes. Even though the Hawkeyes are on their eighth running back and his fifteenth ACL, it’s impressive what the Lions have managed to do this season. In spite of losing their key running back to transfer and dropping their first two games, they’ve rallied behind their seniors and their new coach and will be quite a handful for Ohio State this weekend- particularly at night, in Happy Valley. McMoxie is playing more like a leader and less like the king of the pick-six that we’ve grown to know and love… kudos to their coaching staff.
Staying in the B1G, the Curse of the New Helmets continues unabated- Northwestern lost after sporting a snappy matte black number in what was supposed to be a home game against Nebraska. The Wildcats were ahead for much of the game, but Taylor Martinez managed to bring the ‘Huskers back for an important win. As you know, I’m a fan of the matte helmet look, although with Northwestern’s I could have done without the Pikachu tail on the lower half.
Michigan State decided to break out the “Disco Ball” look for their game with “big brother”, and managed to bottle up the Wolverine offense for the better part of the game. Sparty being Sparty, though, Dantonio’s decision to kick a field goal late in the game while staring at 4th and goal from the yard and a half line left just enough time for Michigan to drive down the field and kick their fourth FG of the contest, ending their losing streak to the Spartans after four years. After the game, fans rushed the field. Yup- after a close win against a team that they were significant favorites over, they rushed the field. /looks at end of Purdue game /shuts up.
Our friends at TBPU also decided to break out some new helmets for their matchup with Iowa State, an “upset” of the 24th ranked team. It’s a pity that Gundy’s Men didn’t decide to go with a green helmet; would have totally made their “Great Pumpkin” look come together, don’t you think? Duke joined the party, going with black helmets to continue the Halloween theme for their game against cross-state rival North Carolina. Their three point win over the chaps from Chapel Hill means that they’re bowl eligible… something that only 60% of programs get to do every season! So proud… Their victory was won in spite of one of the Dukiest plays that Duke ever Duked… here:
Back in the Top 25- LSU rallied back in the second half to beat aTm, whose “Johnny Football” was held without a touchdown. Welcome to the SEC, Aggies; although, to be fair, their indoctrination has gone much better than Mizzou, who managed not to lose their bye week. SEC partners Auburn are 1-6, leading to the possibility that they will be joining Arkansas and Tennessee in the coaching search this off season; Auburn lost to Vanderbilt this weekend for the first time in, well, Vanderbilt. Mississippi State continues to roll along undefeated, and Mark Richt’s preseason top ten team held off Kentucky to win by five on the road. ‘Cause Lexington is so tough of a place to play…
In this space for the past several weeks, we’ve poked gentle fun at the Hurricanes… actually, we’ve mocked their bandwagon fans for not showing up to games this year, and missing a strong rebuilding effort by Coach Golden. That certainly wasn’t the case this week in the huge rivalry matchup against Florida State; not only were fans present and loud, they also did whatever they could to get involved in the game. Whatever. They. Could. Alas, it wasn’t enough and the ‘Noles won by 13. Also in the ACC, Clemson held off Virginia Tech. That’s all I’ve got.
We talked earlier about how a former Patriots coach has turned things around in Happy Valley, wonder how the other Belechick disciple is doing these days? Well, I’m guessing there’s some sort of schematic advantage to losing 52-7 to Oklahoma, but for the life of me, I can’t figure out what it might be.
Today’s “It should be obvious” trivia question- What state has the largest number of undefeated college programs at this point in the season? The answer a bit later.
Kudos go out this week to Southern Cal’s Matt Barkley, who broke university and conference passing records galore against the hapless Colorado Buffs. On that note- if college expansion continues, who does the PAC12 grab? The last two programs haven’t really added anything to except for scrimmage opportunities. Colorado is a mess, and while Utah is better at this point, you wouldn’t have guessed it from their loss to undefeated Oregon State. Rich Rod managed to get a win this week as well, as the Wildcats handled the Husky persons with ease.
Time for the hit of the week, this week from our good friends at Fresno State. And it’s a quarterback… nicely done!
Trivia Answer: The great state of Ohio, with six teams without a loss- Ohio State, Ohio, Mount Union, Heidelberg, Ashland, and Ohio Wesleyan. The Purple Raiders and the Student Princes (seriously) meet this week. On Saturday, Mount Union’s Coach Kehres moved ahead of Bear Bryant in all time wins. The Raiders haven’t allowed a score in their past six games; this week’s matchup is certain to put that to the test.
Since we’re talking about the unbeaten, let’s look ahead a bit. Oregon and Oregon State are set to figure things out at the Civil War at the end of the season, and Mississippi State will travel to Alabama this weekend in a matchup of loss-less teams with the winner in line to face undefeated Florida in the SECCG. Two Big East teams fall into that category, as both Rutgers and Louisville are unblemished. KSU and Ohio State are undefeated, as is Ohio- at the end of the year, the PAC12, B12, SEC, MAC, B1G*, and Big East could all have undefeated representation; in addition to Notre Dame, this would creating just the type of chaos that the last BCS season deserves.
This week’s matchups: Cincinnati and Louisville give us something to watch on Friday, and we already talked about the MSU/Bama game. SEC foes Florida and Georgia meet up in the World’s Largest Outdoor No Longer Cocktail Party, while Michigan State travels to Madison to jump around a bit. A couple of significant games in the B12- Texas Tech tries to do to the October Heisman leader what they did to the September winner when they meet Kansas State, and Oklahoma looks to return Notre Dame back to reality in Norman. You know we’ll have all of the information you’ll need for this week’s matchup with Penn State, and I think it’s safe to say that we’re all Huskers this week when they welcome Michigan to Lincoln. The Battle Of The Bricks is also this weekend; Miami of Ohio looks to stop Ohio University’s dream season.
In case you haven’t seen an alien dance this weekend… here you go: