In a week that was seen as a “meh” on the national scene, it was nonetheless a great Saturday for football. Here’s today’s soundtrack, inspired by Coach Meyer’s comments following the clash with Michigan State.
Well, it may have been the weekend before October, but it certainly was another chance for folks to show off their new costumes.. some for better and some for worse. Let’s start in Lincoln.
Proving yet again that they’re better geared as a soccer kit provider, Adidas decided that the game between Nebraska and Wisconsin would be a great opportunity for all the children of the world to bone up on either their periodic table or their consonants. Huge thanks to our friend Grant at Buckeye Empire for the in-game screencap that you see on the right… it wasn’t quite that bad, but pretty close. Watching the game was pretty traumatic, to be honest… way too many flashbacks… and it shows that this week’s matchup will be another major test for both teams. We’ll obviously have much more on the Cornhuskers this week, but if that’s what “skipping rocks” looks like, it might be a long night in Columbus.
Also in B1G play, the “Meandering Illini” were outfitted with some new duds as they welcomed Penn State to the wind tunnel that is Memorial Stadium. I’m torn on the “matte” helmet look- I really like it, until it gets scuffed. Then? It looks pretty junior varsity… and as a lineman, I can’t imagine a non-scuffed helmet. In the days leading up to this game, you just knew there’s be a lot of paint being traded on both sides; Illinois looking to rebound from their embarrassment against Louisiana Tech, and Penn State looking to rebound from… well… everything. Add the “Illinois sent assistant coaches to Happy Valley” angle, as well as two coaches looking to make a statement in their first conference openers, you’ve got to figure that these teams would look for every opportunity to put a lot of points on the other. Unfortunately for Coach Beckman, that ended up being pretty one sided 35-7 loss.
Since we’re on the topic of disasters, fashionable or otherwise, let’s check in with our friends in Fayetteville. After being picked by many as a top ten team in the pre-season, Arkansas finds themselves at 1-4 following Sunday’s shellacking at the hands of aTm. Things are so bad that the list of names to replace interim slapmeister John L. Smith includes Butch Davis… most recently seen booted following a scandal involving academic and other benefits at North Carolina. While the 58-10 final score may be pretty damning in and of itself, the stats speak louder as Aggie quarterback Johnny Manziel amassed 557 all purpose yards, an SEC record. Deadspin points out the obvious- having an SEC record set in a game between two former SWC foes is pretty indicative of the state of college football these days; it’s definitely a whole new world.
Not that the SEC has any problems putting points on the board, as this week’s “highlight” matchup showed us. When Tennessee traveled to play the Dawgs between the hedges in Athens, the first thought would be an SEC slugfest between teams with a history of defensive excellence. When the final score was 51-44 in favor of the home team, and you realized that both squads managed over 1030 yards of offense… well, it begs the question- are these teams offensive juggernaughts, or do both have significant problems on defense? Derek? Your thoughts?
I’d say that the latter is true, but then I also watched West Virginia and Baylor. I’m sure you’ve already read the hyperbole that Geno Smith has rightfully earned as this year’s September Heisman winner- over 690 yards of total offense for the WVa quarterback in a game where Baylor scored 63 points and lost. Coming into this matchup, we knew it was going to be a “smoking scoreboard” type of game, but I had no idea that Baylor would pick right back up where they left off from their bowl game last year. Heck, even the Mascot had second thoughts early on in the match… the Mountaineers were firing on all cylinders throughout, and still only managed an eight point win. In fact, there’s only one thing that I saw them screw up all game:
Next week, we’ll find out a bit more about the Mountaineers, as they continue their B12 baptism with a trip to Austin to play the Longhorns. Texas survived a bit of a scare themselves against a younger and much less accomplished offensive power, holding off TBPU via some late heroics by quarterback David Ash- his clutch throw on fourth down made the difference in the game winning drive. Although, as our Stillwater Correspondent is quick to point out, there are some questions about whether Texas scored the final touchdown before fumbling in the pile. I’m sure there’s something about replacement refs hereabouts…
Across the rest of the B1G- There’s only one* undefeated left standing, as Minnesota fell to Iowa in the “Battle For The Bronze Pig”. I love me some Jerry Kill, but you just knew that they were still playing with smoke and mirrors this season. It’s a building program, so there’s a lot to be excited about- and I’m not sure that MarQueis Gray wouldn’t have made a difference in this game, but it’s nice to see that all is right in the world and the best coach in the B1g** has his team back on track. That lone undefeated? Northwestern, who already have alumni planning trips to the Rose Bowl following their win over Indiana. How great would an unranked team getting the B1G BCS bid be at the end of the season? Perfectly encapsulates what’s gone wrong so far this year… although, it’s not like we haven’t already seen that option from the ACC and BigLeast.
The ACC had an interesting week- Virginia Tech lost to UChickFilA in a slugfest, and Clemson worked to hold off Jim Bollman’s charges at Boston College. Miami has continued to play well, and beat NC State in front of… well… no one. Which is a real pity, as everyone deserves to have someone cheer for them, and it also keeps “the crowd noise was a distraction” from being an excuse for the decision you see on the right there. The ACC’s biggest surprise is Georgia Tech, who lost to Middle Tennessee State behind the Blue Raiders’ stellar running back Benny Cunningham’s 5 touchdowns.
For those of you who stayed up to watch, there was some excitement in Seattle this week. Not only the NFL’s fiasco on Monday, but Thursday night’s UW/Stanford matchup gave the Cardinal a chance to show that their win over Southern Cal wasn’t just a fluke. Yeah… about that. Washington was able to hold on late in the game and even induced an offsides penalty to seal the victory.
Saturday, the “not quite the Kingdome” hosted Oregon and Washington State in what started out being an interesting game. Wazzoo was reeling from their home loss to Colorado, and Oregon was coming off of their beatdown of Arizona- this wouldn’t be a ballgame, would it? At the half, the Ducks were only up four, but when the Cougs threw a pick-six early in the third quarter I shut off the TV and accepted the fate that would befall the Pirate Cap’n. Arizona State beats Cal… and also attempts to summon child protective services. The Beavers of The Other OSU continued to win, although we’re not sure if they made it to In-N-Out this time (mmm… double double).
Oregon State brings us to “this week in Mich1gAAn Men”. With the Wolverines licking their wounds after the choke in South Bend during their bye week, we’ve got to rely on a former member of the sun and sky, ESPN’s Desmond Howard. In talking about what Mike Riley was doing in Corvallis on Gameday, he decided that he’s not on the bandwagon, and declared that in an incredibly interesting way (courtesy of Deadspin). The best part of that clip? Herbie’s giggle as soon as Des dropped knowledge on the set.
Time for the “Who do I want to see play in January?” part of the program… with Alabama a solid number one, and Oregon jumping to number two following LSU’s bye week… (What’s that? They played a game? Against a Towsend…. huh.), we’re still looking at the same cast of characters in some semblance of a championship week. If I was creating matchups, I’d want to see Oregon and WVa play, and the winner squaring off against the FSU/Bama winner. There are a lot of undefeated teams at this point in the season, but this Saturday will start to clarify matters a bit, particularly in the SEC. #4 LSU travels to #10 Florida, and #5 Georgia will be at #6 South Carolina. We already talked about #8 WVa being an underdog at #11 Texas, while Oregon travels back to Seattle to play UW. Oh, and of course we’ll have all the #12 Ohio State -vs- #21 Nebraska matchup covered all week here at tBBC… Stick around.
*eligible for postseason play
**yup, that’s sarcasm