Despite two notable exceptions, the college football world seemed to right itself this weekend. Most of the teams in the top 25 took care of business from the get-go. #3 Ohio State slammed Kent State 48-3, #5 South Florida beat Central Florida 64-12, and #9 Oregon trashed Washington State 53-7. Virginia Tech, Arizona State, and Texas dominated, too. Boston College, the USCs, and Georgia let their opponents hang around until the end. Penn State embarrassed #19 Wisconsin 38-7, and #20 Kansas continued their march to a division title with a 58-10 decision over Baylor. (Admittedly, they were playing Baylor.)
As you well know, the top two teams in the country lost last evening. This is the eighth time that both have done so in one weekend since 1964 and the first time since 1996. Cal fell thanks to a poor decision by first-time starter Kevin Riley, who decided to run the ball with 0:10ish left rather than throw it away. Only when he fell to the ground did he realize that his team was out of time-outs. There are probably more reasons for the Bears’ collapse, but they are in the Pac-10, so they aren’t worth a more detailed analysis.
LSU fell, too, in a triple-overtime thriller against up-and-coming Kentucky. The majority of the credit goes to Wildcat QB Andre’ Woodson, who threw for 250 yards and three touchdowns. He even VINCE YOUNGed into the end zone through a gap so wide that I could have done the same. Woodson’s performance was impressive, but the Wildcat defense won the game. LSU failed to gain a first down in four tries on the ground, the last coming about a yard short. Colt David almost saved his team with a ridiculous 57-yard field goal attempt as time expired; he had the distance but not the angle.
This is what happens when you let a conference doormat beat a juggernaut. People lie down on football fields.
Auburn’s transformation appears genuine, though touchdowns are few and far between. The Tigers inched out a 9-7 win over Arkansas thanks to the powerful (and sometimes inaccurate) leg of freshman kicker Wes Byrum. Byrum sealed his place in Auburn football history by performing the Gator chomp after his game-winning field goal(s) against Florida. He missed two longer attempts against the Razorbacks but redeemed himself by splitting the uprights to put Auburn ahead.
The Tiger defense continued to impress. Arkansas’ run game only managed 67 yards, ending McFadden’s run (yuk yuk) at the Heisman. That effectively shut down the Razorback offense by forcing Casey Dick to throw the ball, which he can’t do. I’m not sure why they play him at all with receiver Marcus Monk injured. One of my friends suggested that McFadden should be the starting quarterback. That makes sense to me.
I’m looking forward to this weekend. Kansas goes to Colorado to continue their Big 12 quest. USC returns to South Bend, but this time the Trojans don’t have much to lose (or the best offense of all time) (3:30 PM ET, NBC). Miami and Florida State face off in what used to be an epic struggle (3:30 PM ET, ABC). Down-and-out Nebraska and Texas A&M meet for yet another showdown of disappointments.
The SEC boasts three major matchups: Florida at Kentucky (3:30 PM ET, CBS), Tennessee at Alabama (4:30 PM ET, CBS), and Auburn at LSU (9 PM ET, ESPN). No one knows what will happen in Lexington. ‘Bama just squeaked by Ole Miss and Tennessee is on a roll, so I’m guessing the Tide will pull off another bogus comeback win. Tuberville is 14/15 in SEC road stadiums, but his one loss was against LSU in 2005. (Thanks a lot, John Vaughn.) I’m considering making the drive to Baton Rouge to redeem my unfaithfulness over the Florida game.
Nope, your game-winning field goal against Georgia does not erase the five misses against LSU. Nice try.
P.S. I forgot to mention that Michigan State won a 52-27 beatdown of Indiana. My fingers are crossed for a victory over Ohio State in Buckeye Stadium, which hasn’t happened since 1987. Go Spartans!