Great week to be on a bye- Three undefeateds and a top ten team lost, and two other top 10 teams struggled… And, as much as I hate to admit it, only one song came to mind for Monday’s soundtrack. Enjoy.
Of course we’re going to start off in Happy Valley, where Michigan’s Brady Hoke continued his longstanding legacy of struggling on the road. As excellent as the Wolverines have been at home under his tenure *coughhomecookingcough* he’s only 6-8 on the road, including a nailbiter of a win against something called a UConn this season.
Hats off to the Penn State coaching staff, who essentially nullified Michigan’s running game- Toussiant and Green had 30 rushes for 28 yards. And big kudos to the Lion’s Christian Hackenburg and Allen Robinson, who made big plays late to tie the game and send it into what would be four overtimes.
But “player of the game” award goes to that upstanding citizen Brendan Gibbons, who missed three of four field goals, including big shanks in overtime and a kick at the end of regulation that was just short. Penn State played to win, Michigan played not to lose and still managed to do so. The Lions will now have a bye week before heading to Columbus to face Ohio State in what’s sure to be a hard fought battle.
Because I’m a petty person, we’ll be enjoying visual reminders of this game throughout the rest of this post… but let’s talk about the other games of note.
We’ve talked before about “Big Game Bob” and the pass that Coach Stoops gets in spite of some collapses on the national stage; recently, though, his Sooners have made hay in the Red River Shootout at the expense of a down Texas program. So much so, in fact, that they even tried to make a clever graphic about it- it was assumed that yesterday’s game would be the final straw to lead to Mack Brown getting the Lane Kiffin treatment on the grounds of the Texas State Fairground. Funny thing about narratives, though…
Not only did Texas dominate the Sooners from the opening snap on their way to a 36-20 victory, they also gave us that greatest of college football gifts: a fat guy touchdown. Enjoy the majesty:
Also falling from the ranks of the unbeaten was my favorite PAC12 team, the Stanford Cardinal. Last week’s game with Washington took it out of both teams, it seems… and I still wouldn’t be surprised to see the Cardinal upset Oregon later in the year. You also can’t sleep on the UCLA Bruins, who are undefeated after demolishing Cal in the Rose Bowl on Saturday Night.
Well, let’s talk about the Ducks… I had Marcus Mariotta as one of my Heisman frontrunners at the end of last year, and he’s risen to the top of the list with his play this season. Not only did he lead his team to a big win in Seattle in front of one of the most hostile crowds in the nation, he did so without De’Anthony Thomas, who missed the game with a medical issue. Oregon’s trigger man has his team racking up huge points on the ground and in the air- and has yet to throw an interception this season. Yeah… not too shabby- and this just may be the year that this factual document finally changes.
Because, I just can’t see Alabama keeping up with Oregon, should they meet in January. The Tide rolled over Kentucky on Saturday as has been foretold in Scripture, but they didn’t score until the second quarter against a very young Wildcat team. As good as their defense has been, they haven’t exactly blown the doors off of anyone other than aTm on offense this year… and there are top ten teams that can make the scoreboard smoke.
Speaking of the Aggies, they struggled on the road but pulled of yet another win against Old Miss; Coach Kevin Sumlin is the “anti-Brady Hoke”, and has yet to lose a contest away from College Station. It was the late game, and certainly worth watching as two offenses (and questionable defenses) really put on a show.
Ah, Bert… 0-4 since your wife shot off her twitter account about #karma, with Steve Spurrier showing you pity this week. Oh, and guess what! You’ve got Alabama next! Good luck!!
Bert’s Hawgs bring us the first in this week’s “Why Are Fake Punts?” segment-
The SEC’s other undefeated team, the Missouri Tigers, went into Athens on Saturday and handled an injury deprived Bulldog squad. As a result, it was everything the AP voters could do to not drop Georgia to 8 from 7, and move Mizzou up to 9.
We talked about the PAC earlier, but didn’t mention Southern Cal’s win over the Fighting Rich Rods on Thursday evening. While they’re not the caliber of the top teams in the conference, and it’s unlikely that Coach Orgereon will have his contract extended beyond the “temporary” title- it’s good to see the Trojans having fun and playing with some enthusiasm again.
Meanwhile in the B1G, the hangover hit Northwestern as well. Facing a Wisconsin team coming off of both a bye and a big loss in Columbus, the Wildcats couldn’t overcome the Badgers or the loss of Veneric Mark. The conference’s best offense only managed two field goals in the first half, and the run defense that Ohio State exposed in Evanston only got worse. A rejuvenated Melvin Gordon had a 71 yard fly sweep touchdown, something that the Badgers couldn’t managed against the Buckeyes. Buckeye killer Jared Abbrederis also left the game early with a head injury, but not before scoring yet another long touchdown through the air.
The B1G matchup between Michigan State and Indiana was supposed to highlight the Hoosier’s offense against the Spartan’s defensive excellence… but it was Sparty’s offense that was able to ensure victory, scoring 42 points while managing to hold the Hoosiers to only 28. Indiana was able to get their points through the air, but the endzone snipers in East Lansing possibly had an impact on the gameplan.
Nebraska had a shutout against Purdue until the last minutes of the game, as was to be expected for Coach Hazell’s young team. Taylor Martinez sat out yet again… with the Huskers’ bye week coming up, you’ve got to think he’ll be back on the field sooner rather than later.
The Boilermakers’ also brought us our second “Why Are Fake Punts” of the week:
Earlier in the season, we talked about the new targeting rule and how it had the possibility of creating an uneven playing field if not called consistently between conferences. We’ve been tracking this each Monday in this space, but this week have a great set of examples highlighting the differences between the SEC and B1G… again.
In the aTm/Old Miss game, this hit was called for unsportsmanlike conduct and the player was ejected. After review, though, he was allowed to continue; although the 15 yard penalty remained.
In the Purdue/Nebraska game, this hit was called for unsportsmanlike conduct and the player was ejected. After review, the call was upheld and the player missed the rest of the game in addition to the 15 yard penalty.
There should be no surprise, though… the B1G at the beginning of the year said that they would be holding to a “When In Doubt, Kick Them Out” standard. Great to see yet another opportunity for the officials to become a part of the game… that never ever happens in the B1G.
Also on Thursday, Louisville looked good, but Bridgwater didn’t have the “zip” he usually does. Perhaps as a portent to Saturday’s Fat Guy Touchdown, Rutgers runs a fake that wins my heart if only for the effort. Great Rutgers fake, though.
This is the week to get comfy on the coach, with some amazing games ahead. Not only do the Buckeyes return to play to face an Iowa Hawkeye team that’s also coming off a bye, but it’s the time of year that we get to hear insufferable Notre Dame fans and insufferable Southern Cal fans attempt a smug-off. The undefeated Missouri Tigers host the Florida Gators without their starting quarterback, who left the Georgia game with a significant shoulder injury. Stanford looks to rebound against undefeated UCLA in a game that might shape the eventual PAC12 race.
And, the game of the week is undefeated #5 Florida State traveling to undefeated #3 Clemson. If you’re one of those people who worry about rankings in October, this game should be one to pay attention to- will a Clemson loss drop them below Ohio State should the Buckeyes win?
Hey, now that The Walking Dead is back on your telly, it’s probably time to revisit your improvised weaponry. Like this: