Thursday, October 28, 2010

College Football Wrap-Up - 3 More Unbeaten Teams Fall and 7 Top 25 Teams Are Upset

The college football world was turned upside down this week
as 7 Top 25 teams were upset, including No. 1-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes, and 3 of the 7 saw their unbeaten seasons 'and
national championship dreams - all but vanish before their
eyes.

Throw out almost everything you thought you knew for sure.
The good old boys from the south have choked on their
chewing tobacco. The voters will now be embarrassed to put
their undeserving, favorite team on top of the football
polls. It is a new order of virtual parity at the top in
college football.

The best realization of this is that it is impossible to
just pencil in Alabama, Florida or Ohio State as the No. 1
team.

South Carolina Gamecocks knocked off then No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide last week,
and this week the Wisconsin Badgers hosted No. 1 Ohio State
and gave Ohio State a most unfriendly 31-18 whipping while
completely dominating the Buckeyes, who came in with their
privileged reputation and a 6-0 record.

Ohio State was ranked 6th nationally in scoring offense,
and 6th in scoring defense. Someone forgot to tell
Wisconsin's players, who could give a flip about the
Buckeyes stats. Wisconsin would rather smash you in the
mouth, and they did.

The Badgers led 21-3 at the half, and the Buckeyes were
wondering if they shouldn't get on the bus home at
halftime. Ohio State, favored by 4 on the road, failed to
cover by 18 points. The defeat was so bad that the Buckeyes
dropped to 11th in the weekly AP Poll.

Earlier in the season, then No. 1 Alabama put a 31-6
thrashing on the Florida Gators, who won the national
championship two years ago and four years ago.

All bets are off now - the national championship race is
wide open, and apparently getting wider by the week.

No. 5-ranked Nebraska fared no better. The Nebraska Cornhuskers (5-0), who hosted Texas, are sorry they ever showed up. The
Longhorns, who had previously lost to UCLA and Oklahoma,
led 17-3 at the half and won, 20-13.

The fact that Nebraska was ranked 9th in scoring offense
nationally, 7th in total offense, 4th in scoring defense
and 12th in total defense, did not mean squat. Cornhusker
coach Bo Pelini can obsess over those stats all he wants,
it doesn't matter, Nebraska, favored by 10, failed to cover
by 18, exactly like Ohio State.

Nevada was the third unbeaten team to fall. The 19th-ranked
Wolf Pack brought their perfect 6-0 mark to Hawaii, the
land of pineapples and passes. The Warriors shut down
Nevada's 7th-ranked scoring offense (43 points per game)
while winning, 27-21, after leading 17-zip at the half.

Hawaii also has a high-scoring offense, averaging 39 a
game. The Warriors (now 5-2) had more total offensive yards
and passing yards. Hawaii leads the nation in passing
offense.

The loss was Nevada's 6th straight at Hawaii. There is, of
course, no truth to the rumor that Warrior players throw
pineapples as well as passes, they just have a lot of very
big, talented Samoan athletes on the island.

Now there are only 10 major schools that are unbeaten going
into the 8th weekend of the season - TCU, Auburn Tigers, LSU and
Michigan State Spartans all are 7-0, and Oregon, Boise State,
Oklahoma, Utah, Oklahoma State and Missouri are all 6-0.

Besides Ohio State, Nebraska and Nevada, 4 other ranked
teams lost - South Carolina, Florida, Air Force and OregonState.

The South Carolina Gamecocks, who had just upset Alabama to
rise to 10th in the AP Poll, led unranked Kentucky 28-10 at
the half, but were outscored 21-zip by the Wildcats in the
second half as Kentucky held on to upend the Gamecocks,
31-28.

South Carolina just did not play the second half, and
failed to finish off its opponent.

Florida, ranked 22nd, hosted Mississippi State, rated 33rd
by Sagarin, and found itself on the short end of a 10-7
stick. The Gators offense has just collapsed; two weeks ago
they only scored 6 on Alabama, and now they have just
dropped out of the Top 25 with a 4-3 record following
consecutive losses to Alabama, LSU and Mississippi State.

The Mississippi State loss meant that Florida coach Urban
Meyer suffered 3 consecutive losses for the first time in
his coaching career. Apparently, when there is no Tim
Tebow, there is suddenly no Florida. That's tough luck, for
Florida, not Mississippi State.

Air Force, which debuted in the Top 25 last week at 23rd,
took a flying leap back out of the poll this week after
being beaten by unranked San Diego State, 27-25. The
Aztecs, who led 10-6 at the half, made it official with the
final score. The Air Force Falcons will have to regroup for
some strategy.

The seventh team to miss victory this week was the
24th-ranked Oregon State Beavers, who were beginning to
look for real. The Beavers paid a visit to the up-again,
down-again Washington Huskies. They had won 6 in a row
against Washington, and had won 7 of their past 9 Pac-10
road games.

That said, the Huskies have a real headliner in Jake
Locker, who would be winning more games if his receivers
would stop dropping passes, and his defensive teammates
would start playing defense.

Locker threw a career-high 5 touchdown passes, including 2
to Jermaine Kearse in a double-overtime game, and Oregon
State's 2-point conversion attempt for a win in the 2nd
overtime period fell incomplete as the Huskies beat the
Beavers 35-34.

Washington needed a defensive stop at a critical moment and
finally got one when the conversion pass to Joe Halahuni
went through his hands as he was hit by linebacker Cort
Dennison.

Locker was 21-of-35 passing (60%) for 286 yards and the 5
TD strikes. Locker also picked up 60 yards on 12 carries
(5.0 ypc), and Chris Polk added another 105 yards. Kearse
had 9 catches for 146 yards and his school-record 4
touchdowns came on 16, 45, 17 and 21-yard passes.

Both Oregon State and Washington are now 3-3 on the season.

Eight other Top 25 teams had great wins to keep moving
onward and upward.

They included really good road wins by 3rd-ranked Boise
State over San Jose State 48-zip, 11th-ranked Utah over
Wyoming 30-6, 20th-ranked Oklahoma State over Texas Tech 34-17, and 21st-ranked Missouri over Texas A&M 30-9.

Great home victories included 7th-ranked Auburn outlasting
12th-ranked Arkansas, 65-43, in the game of the week that
featured offense and no defense, 4th-ranked TCU over BYU31-3, 6th-ranked Oklahoma over Iowa State 52-zip, and
13th-ranked Michigan State over Illinois 26-6.

In a side note, Auburn barely led Arkansas 37-35 after the
3rd quarter, but the Tigers outscored the Razorbacks 28-8
on some miscues in the last quarter to go on and win 65-43.
Imagine for a moment a SEC game with 108 total points
scored. Whatever happened to that thing called defense?

Six other top-ranked teams had much less impressive
victories. They included 8th-ranked Alabama's really lame
win at home over 79th-ranked Mississippi 23-10, 9th-ranked
LSU's pathetic triumph over 149th-ranked, AA McNeese State
32-10, and 15th-ranked Iowa's 38-28 victory over Michigan.

Also, 16th-ranked Florida State's narrow 24-19 effort
hosting 110th-ranked Boston College, 17th-ranked Arizona's
weak 24-7 win at Washington State, and 25th-ranked West
Virginia's 20-6 escape against 100th-ranked South Florida.

No. 2-ranked Oregon and No. 15-ranked Stanford were idle
this week.

Seven other unranked teams deserve a mention.

Here are 3 thumpings - Georgia shutting out Vanderbilt
43-zip, USC taking it to California 48-14, and Kansas State ripping Kansas 59-7 after leading 52-zip after 3 quarters.

Here are 4 upsets - East Carolina, ranked 71st, knocking
off North Carolina State 33-27 in overtime, 189th-ranked
Eastern Michigan beating 124th-ranked Ball State 41-38 in
overtime, 161st-ranked Rice nipping 77th-ranked Houston
34-31, and 159th-ranked UAB (Alabama-Birmingham) upsetting
112th-ranked UTEP (Texas-El Paso), 21-6.


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