You’ve got two choices for this week’s narrative as you talk college sports around the old coffeemaker at the office this morning.
Option one: “Wow, 5 top 25 SEC teams were beaten on Saturday… four in upsets! Is that conference over-rated or what?”
Option two: “Wow, four SEC team upset top 25 teams this weekend!!! What an incredibly deep league… let’s just crown their champion now!”
I’ll let you guess which one will be the talking points of most people… This is, as you may know, the phenomenon of “circular logic“, and when you play games on the field but championships in the polls, it’s something will make a difference for some team.
But, as we said, the games were played on the field, and this week saw 6 of the top 11 upset and two other undefeated teams threatened. We started with a come from behind loss by Team Papa John against UCF on Friday Night. If you’re Louisville, playing anytime anywhere means both that you can build your program AND that you’ve got a national audience when you fall apart late in the game.
Previously, undefeated Miami needed a late score to hold off North Carolina. ACC, y’all.
Saturday’s surprises didn’t include UCLA getting its first loss at Stanford… only because many folks still feel that Stanford is one of the top two teams in the PAC12, and would serve as UCLA’s first test. Their next text? Oregon. Have fun, Bruin-bros. The Stanford Game also brought us what may be the reception of the year… it’s certainly the best catch we saw all week:
Speaking of the Ducks, they weren’t exactly tickled pink at their huge win over Washington State, mostly because they thought that the Ol’ Pirate Cap’n was being juvenile in an attempt to set some sort of record for his quarterback. My opinion? The Cougs needed to have more Fat Guy TD. Can’t ever have enough of that…
Back to the SEC- Tennessee finally got a signature win with an upset of number eleven South Carolina after quarterback Connor Shaw went down with a knee injury. The Gamecocks were hit with yet another targeting penalty, something that would be a theme for this week’s games. Oh, and Stanford’s snag is still the tops, but this one ain’t too bad by the Volunteers.
Johnny Football was his usual amazing self against Auburn in College Station (Question? Answered.), but the Aggie’s lack of defense ultimately ended their hopes at a national title. I guess they should have seen it coming- when Alabama scores more than 40 on you, you know your team has some problems- the Tide is amazing, but not a touchdown machine like other programs this year. Which makes “This Week In Karma” all that more hilarious.
LSU was ranked 6th in the country coming into this week, but fell at Old Miss when the Rebels buried a late field goal. So, for those of you keeping score at home, that’s Les Miles losing a game 1) As the clock wound down due to B) Special Teams. Great win for Old Miss- I think those guys are still looking for someone to celebrate with, though.
The surprising Missouri Tigers managed to continue their great season, led by Ohio’s own Maty Mauk over the obviously still trying to recover from the mean ol’ Urban Meyer legacy Florida Gators, who totally have no players since Meyer left the cupboard bare. You know what else will impact your roster? Having your DB’s get tossed for targeting on the first play from scrimmage. Well done.
Yup, targeting penalties were as rampant as “Breast Cancer Awareness” efforts- perhaps the NCAA has finally decided that CTE needs it’s own month? This fact is nothing that Ohio State fans need to be informed of, since Bradley Roby was tossed early in the Iowa win on a call that still makes some shake their heads (see what I did there?).
But I feel as if the SEC finally has listened to me- I’ve critiqued the conference on several occasions for their inconsistency regarding these types of plays, or at least my frustration about them being different than the “When In Doubt, Throw Them Out” mantra that B1G officials have latched onto. That being said, I feel like I need to apologize to my Bulldawg friends; under no circumstance did I mean for your conference to adapt the B1G’s stance. That’s the only explanation that I have for this play resulting in a game ejection:
And yes, the official had the flag in his hand before contact was ever made.
Look, as I’ve said before, I appreciate the rule and understand where it’s coming from. That being said, can we please go back to the old process where these plays were reviewed after the game when more time could be taken to make the right call. As it is, the only acceptable place to hit a player is at the knees- which, in college, may cost a “student athlete” his longterm career as well. And that doesn’t even address the issue of running backs lowering their heads and trucking defenders who are taught not to brace themselves for fear of a penalty. Or the issue of defenders diving at a running back on the goal line- helmet contact will automatically happen there, but will it be called?
Back to Vandy- Congrats on their big win over a depleted Georgia team, although you might want to have your kicker get some extra practice on plant foot placement for future games.
Hang on… back to the targeting thing real quick. In “the other” primetime game, Notre Dame managed to hold of Southern Cal in a craptacular contest that included this bit of athletic excellence. And no, there wasn’t “targeting” called on the play, although there’s clearly helmet to helmet contact made. I guess the officials concluded that Notre Dame QBs know what they’re getting into, so can’t be categorized as “defenseless”.
I call SC/ND “The Other” game, because the matchup of the week was the ACC clash where #3 Clemson hosted #5 Florida State… which gave us the highlight of the day:
I’ve been on #TeamJameis from a while back, and it was great to see him play as well as he did in a hostile environment at Death Valley. That being said, knowing what we know now about Georgia- was Clemson’s “signature win” over them really good enough to deserve their early ranking?
At any rate, Clemson got destroyed in their own stadium, on College Game Day… that’s going to sting for awhile. And, while I was frustrated seeing a few players on both sides being praised without any discussion of their recruiting history, I knew it would be a great game once we had a Fat Guy TD on the scoreboard.
I totally agree with Florida State’s rise to the #2 spot in the first BCS poll… but don’t expect them to stay there. Oregon’s remaining schedule strength is tougher; if they survive, they deserve the berth in Pasadena. But I will say this… Ohio State needs to just win, which won’t be an easy task given the struggles the defense has shown us this year. Don’t worry about rankings or politics- do what you do.
One team that makes me incredibly nervous as we look down the road played on Saturday in Ann Arbor… and it wasn’t the Weasels. Granted, Indiana has absolutely no defense to speak of (and yet Michigan got no production from their running game), but they put points up through the air in a hurry. The Wolverines’ passing and offensive yardage records from Saturday should come with asterisks the size of Brady Hoke- the defensive spectacle that happened in the Big House made Rich Rod and Ron Zook look downright stingy.
Hey, you know what’s awesome? Northwestern’s second loss of the season- I think Ohio State broke them. Granted, they were missing their star running back again, but still… it was a home game against Minnesota for the love of God. It was interesting to watch the matchup and see the great Wildcat fans come nowhere near close to filling their stadium… and that’s with some of the seats partitioned off yet again. Just think those no-shows missed out on a Fat Guy Interception! Oh, the splendor.
Wisconsin keeps rolling, and pounded the orange out of Illinois. The Badgers don’t find themselves in the BCS top 25, which is a pity given that they are a Pac12 Officiating screwjob from being the best one loss team in the country. Also in the B1G, Sparty’s offense only got one TD against Purdue. As far as I know, this was the only completed pass of the day.
We haven’t talked much about the Big12, but here’s all you need to know: Texas Tech is still undefeated, Baylor hung 70 on an Iowa State team that Iowa barely beat (transitive property fun!), Oklahoma reminded Kansas that it don’t matter what you look like. Oh, and TBPU had the opportunity to celebrate a great alumni. Proud.
PS- Ohio Dominican and Mount Union are still undefeated. W00t.
This week’s slate of games are less exciting than last, although some good matchups still exist. As we mentioned, UCLA travels to Eugene to face the #3 Ducks, and the Oklahoma/Texas Tech game will be an interesting B12 test. Missouri hosts South Carolina in a battle of the back up quarterbacks, while Alabama hosts a chippy Tennessee team. The B1G game will be Penn State at the Buckeyes in primetime- the Lions, coming off a bye, also have a good running game, use their tight ends, and have a better QB than Iowa. Buckle up.
One thing that will be hard to beat in the ‘Shoe on Saturday will be TBDBITL’s performance… after the Homecoming tribute to the King Of Pop below, they own the top 5 spots in the Band Championship Series (if there was such a thing):