In spite of the huge win in Happy Valley on Saturday, I’m feeling a bit of the blues are in order for this week’s recap. So, enjoy some Collins, Cray, and Copeland.
It’d be easy to say that this week was “spook-tacular”, and “scary” for a lot of top teams, but that would be way to easy. So, let’s just admit that Saturday once again proved that we’re fans of the greatest sport in the world; because anything can happen once the ball is kicked.
As a promise to a “friend” that’s a Notre Dame fan who I’ve been justifiably ripping for the last ten years, we’re leading off this week with the Irish’s huge win in Norman over the Sooners. Like most of America who pays attention to the sport, I imagined that Oklahoma would stomp a mud hole into Brian Kelley’s team- Stoop’s defense, high powered offense… not exactly playing Air Force here. So, because the Irish emerged victorious, undefeated, and “relevant” enough to bump up to the third ranking spot in the BCS, I tip my journalistic cap to them- particularly their defense, which is playing lights out this season. Although they gave up their first* (non-official assisted) rushing touchdown to Oklahoma, they were able to keep Sooner QB Landry Jones guessing all night long. That’s not to say that we’re not without some controversy, as the “luck of the Irish” continued when Heisman Candidate Manti Te’o intercepted the Sooners late in the game to seal away the victory. Your perspective of the play will depend on your hopes prior to the game- Irish fans were elated, others thought that the initial play was a case of pass interference resulting in a ball that clearly touched the ground. At any rate, complaining about the officiating is better left to other fan bases; the Irish are undefeated, and have overcome all but one of the games that had people pointing to theirs as the toughest schedule in college football. Congrats indeed.
Although… How much of this gets pinned on Bob Stoops? “Big Game Bob”, as we’ve discussed before, has built a reputation on an early BCS championship and his ability to beat his rival. However, given the state of his rival over the past few years, is it really fair to continue to give him a pass for his team’s coming up short in these types of games? The loss to Notre Dame is the second at home this year… although, to be fair, both teams are undefeated currently. So, Sooner fans- enjoy that BCS win over Connecticut a few years back, and hope that things can get turned around in the B12 for your squadron in the near future.
Since we alluded to them, let’s talk Texas, shall we? It took some late game heroics by a McCoy (no, not that one) to keep from being beaten by Kansas. You read that correctly… the Jayhawks and their “Coach by weight” strategy were within seconds of beating the Longhorns and turning the heat even higher up on coach Mack Brown. I’m not one to jump on a dead bandwagon- check out the great “post a picture of our defense” thread on Shaggy Bevo- but I still can’t figure out how the flagship school in one of the most talent rich states in the nation continues to struggle on the field. Granted, it may be the competition in the conference and adjacent conferences, but you’ve got to think they’d be able to be successful whether or not there’s a prodigy at quarterback.
Also in the B12, Kansas State, the new #3 in the BCS continues to roll, playing even with Texas Tech for a half and then making the adjustment necessary to blow out the Raiders in Lubbock.
Over in the SEC, the “World’s Largest Outdoor Family Fun Event” seemed to be just the next step in the coronation of Florida’s ability to overcome adversity of their coach abandoning them until kickoff, when the Bulldogs played inspired enough football to ensure that they’d be a part of the SEC East conversation. Turnovers were the story for Georgia’s upset of the second ranked Gators, in a game that was should have been sponsored by an ad for the Serenity Now treatment centers, as both sidelines were able to “express themselves” to their charges- first, Mr. Happy, Will Muschamp, and then Georgia’s Defensive Coordinator Todd Grantham. Easy now, fellers. The rivalry game may have also brought us one of the greatest “band-photobombs” of the season, as this fantastic piccolo player gives her best “dad-blasted-consarnit!” to a missed field goal opportunity.
This turn of events sets up somewhat of a “situation” for our SECE friends- Florida has lost to Georgia, but defeated South Carolina. South Carolina has beaten Georgia, but lost to Florida. Georgia… well, you can do the math. It will be interesting to see how the conference makes a final decision to see who gets to be cannon fodder for Alabama in November- ’cause we saw on Saturday that the Saban Death Star is still very much functional, as they beat the “undefeated” Mississippi State Bulldogs in a game that was only close for the first quarter or so. Whether or not they are truly the “top” team is yet to be decided, but I personally haven’t seen anyone play with as much focus and almost venom as the ‘Tide this season. Methodical, and talented.
Currently, though, the BCS computers have ‘Bama at number three… perhaps because of their strength of schedule. They don’t have to play any of the top three from the other division until the championship game, and the rest of their schedule hasn’t been all that powerful (yes, I’m well aware they opened against TTUN). Across the SEC, there is a lot of talent as well as a lot of… uh… “not”; as was evidenced this week when Missouri finally got their first conference win against a Kentucky team that already had mentally checked into basketball season. Auburn continues to struggle, if you call “struggling” a 42 point loss at home. I guess fish struggle in the bottom of the boat, too… maybe that description is apt.
The SEC also brought us this week’s “hit of the week” in the Tennessee/South Carolina game. No, this isn’t the Marcus Lattimore play- there are plenty of places to watch that gruesomeness online, and we won’t even link to it here. Instead, thoughts and prayers continue for him; initial reports were that he’d broken some bones in addition to tearing all the major ligaments in his knee. Sunday, though, saw some saying that it was merely a dislocated knee that there’s hope for his return to the field of play. Obviously, that’s icing on the cake… I think I speak for everyone in college football when I say that we just want to see him walk again.
Instead of that play, let’s take a look at one of Tennessee’s highlights in their three point loss on the road- this awesome pressure on Gamecock Quarterback Connor Shaw:
Granted, Ryan Shazier would have been flagged for that, but it’s still an amazing “rag doll” impact. “Rag Doll” may also describe Coach Dooley’s career at this point, with rumors swirling that he’s on his way out of Knoxville; an announcement may come as early as this week.
That hit, though, didn’t result in a concussion and Shaw continued to play for the rest of the game. That’s not the case for Arizona quarterback Matt Scott, who was clearly concussed in the midst of the game against Southern Cal and was allowed to continue in the game. I’m guessing that Rich Rod took some of Mark Dantonio’s medical staff with him when he left the state of Michigan. Arizona went on to upset the Trojans, but the cost for Scott may not be known for years- see any data from NFL head injuries for proof. While it’s always “interesting” with the Men of Troy lose, huge props have to go out to receiver Marquis Lee’s 345 yards and 2 touchdown day.
Also out on the West Coast, the CenturyLink Jinx struck again. UW, who’s made this their home field during renovations on one of the best stadiums in the Pac-12 have already knocked Stanford from the ranks of the unbeaten, and on Saturday did the same to Mike Riley’s Oregon State Beavers. Maybe the Huskies can move to SoDo full time, given the results that the “Other Home Of The 12th Man” has on their program.
Halloween Costume time- Oregon Fans have been getting ready for months, but this year they not only got to dress up themselves but also watch their team’s weekly fashion show as well. However, the award for “Best Costume” goes to the Colorado Buffs team who all dressed up as a “Division 1 Football Program” for their trip to Eugene. If you’ve ever wondered what it would look like for a video game highlight to come to life, here’s your chance to see De’Anthony Thomas do to Colorado what you would do to a person who had never played NCAA 2012 before. Seriously, it’s both amazing and embarrassing at the same time.
Also receiving votes: Maryland’s linebacker who will be going to every party for the rest of the season as a quarterback, Pittsburgh fans for their impression of yellow seats, and whatever it was that North Carolina was wearing in their win over NC State. That last picture should be troubling to Ohi State fans- it’s been documented that we’re “getting” a “rivalry” uniform this year, probably for the Michigan game. Given that Nike has already done the shiny, aluminum foil helmets for other “rivalry” programs (Michigan State, etc.) and is doing it every week for Oregon, it’s not too unlikely that we’re going to see something reflective in The Shoe on November 24.
Closer to home- Who would have guessed that Purdue would have been blown out by Minnesota this season, particularly following their efforts against Ohio State last Saturday? You’ve got to wonder if that overtime loss wasn’t the razor that shaved the coach’s mustache, as it were, and the team has checked out. This week, though, we’ll find out if the guys at Boiled Sports were correct, as Robert Marve has been named the starter against Penn State. Michigan fell in a night game in Lincoln after their quarterback left the game with an injury… I’d make a joke about Robinson’s fragility here, if that scenario didn’t sound so frighteningly familiar. Their version of Joe Bauserman came in and threw for six completions- three to his guys and three to the other team. I know that Nebraska is a tough place to win, particularly at night, but Tony Gerdeman may have found the picture that explains it most clearly… children of the corn, indeed. Northwestern won, in the most Northwestern way possible. Oh, and Indiana controls their own destiny to the B1G Championship Game. Awesome.
Couple of crazy bits of MACtion this week: Miami of Ohio knocks the Bobcats out of the ranks of the undefeated, as the Ohio quarterback takes a sack with the clock running out and no time outs left. That they were in easy field goal range only complicates things. The Kent Golden Hazells also took a notch out of a team without a loss, handing Rutgers their first “L” of the season. If not for an opening game loss to Kentucky, the Flashes would also be undefeated.
In a final battle of the unbeatens this week, D3 Heidleberg managed to do something that no other team has done, and scored 14 points on Mount Union in the OAC battle. The Raiders scored 33 points, though, and continue their quest at another Stagg Bowl berth.
This Saturday is the week we’ve all been waiting for… no, not the Illinois game, the “at the beginning of the season, this looks like a playoff” weekend where Oregon travels to Southern Cal and LSU plays Alabama (again). Personally, I’m really interested in seeing if Oregon can finally jump KSU or Notre Dame in the BCS rankings- I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that the Irish and Tide’s ability to create an “interesting” matchup for television/ticket sales might be too great to overcome if they win out along with either Kansas State and Oregon. Which is a shame, since I think Oregon’s the only team that might be able to apply pressure to the ‘Bama defense.
Other things to watch: Va Tech at Miami on Thursday, aTm and Mississippi State meet for the first time, Texas travels to Lubbock, while TBPU tries to upset the Wildcats of Kansas.
Of course, we’ll have all of your Illinois (and Walsh pre-season hoops!) coverage here at tBBC… unless, of course, we end up in a sugar coma after “vetting” our kids’ Halloween stash.