It was November 5th which means we finally got to see 1 vs. 2 on the field in a game we’ve all been waiting on for the past month. It wasn’t the game of the century but it was the best game so far this year, that’s for sure.
What is the deal with the Big 10? For the past 3 weeks the division titles have been there for the taking and it seems like nobody wants to step up and grab them. The ACC is a cluster of mid level teams and the Big East is well… we’ll get to them later.
Speaking of conferences, The SEC seems set to welcome both Texas A&M to the West and now Missouri to the East. (Announcement coming this week). I was hoping that the SEC would pick up a program a little better than Missouri, but whatever.
With a heartfelt welcome to the Top 25 for Southern Miss, let’s get on to this week…
GAMES OF THE WEEK:
#1 LSU over #2 Alabama 9-6 in OT
WOW! As a wise man said to me just yesterday, “Play some F-ing defense!” I picked Alabama in this one simply because they were playing at home. I thought this was going to be a low scoring and close game, but this was just great. I think had it not been for some key mistakes by Bama (also all those missed FG tries) the outcome would have been a lot different. But all credit to LSU, they went on the road, played a tough game and won. If you get a chance and didn’t see it, go look up the INT from LSU defensive back Eric Reid. He saved a touchdown that would have given Bama a lead and it was an awesome individual effort. Could this be the first time we see and all SEC National Championship Game with a rematch of this one? It’s too early to tell and there are still games to be played, but I can tell you that I would love to see this one played again. Now um… back to those kickers for Alabama. I hope that they and their families are safe this morning and no physical harm has come to them from the outraged Bama fans. A combined 2 for 6 in a game like this may just get you killed in Alabama. But, it’s a buyer’s market and I’m sure they can find nice housing in Louisiana.
#7 Arkansas over #9 South Carolina 44-28
Well well, Arkansas finally won a game that didn’t have to come down to the last play of the game. If the marquee matchup of the weekend featured defense, this one featured the offensive minded Razorbacks taking on a South Carolina team that is coming to the realization that without a Marcus Lattimore, they have no run game. (79 yards on the ground all day and only 207 total). They do still play good defense, but just not this week against a determined Arkansas team. If you like kick returns look up the 98-yard kickoff return in the 1st quarter by Arkansas. The guy ran untouched to the end zone and it was a big early momentum shifter. Really this game sets the table for the rest of the year in the SEC. South Carolina just opened the door for Georgia to win the East and Arkansas still has to play LSU and even though they’ve already lost to Alabama, they could still make a BCS bowl appearance and really make things interesting on November 25th.
#3 Oklahoma State over #14 Kansas State 52-45
Oklahoma State remains unbeaten and Kansas State (even with the loss) proved that they are a legit team this year; just not an elite team. It was a 27-24 game at half and K-State was actually playing some decent defense and hanging in there for most of the game. However, OKS’s passing game proved to be just too much for the Wildcats. The Cowboys have an inside track to the BCS Championship Game if they can get by a sneaky Texas Tech team next week on the road and then survive the Oklahoma game on December 3rd.
Honorable Mentions go to:
Unranked UCLA upsetting #19 Arizona State 29-28; again, missed kicks will kill you!
Northern Illinois over Toledo 63-60; 1,121 total yards in this game and a track meet broke out in the MAC.
UPSETS OF THE WEEK:
Let’s remember that last week it was Nebraska upsetting Michigan State and Ohio State taking out Wisconsin for a Big-10 upset week. This week it was…
Unranked Northwestern over #10 Nebraska 28-25
Really Nebraska? Northwestern? They were 3-5 coming into this game and 1-4 in the BigTen. Nebraska was there and had the division pretty much wrapped up. Northwestern had to go to their backup QB in the second half and their defense had been getting shredded all year long. So how is it that Nebraska couldn’t come up with a win here AT HOME!? Nebraska now becomes the third team in as many weeks to be upset at home by an unranked team: (Clemson/GT last week and Texas Tech/Oklahoma the week before).
Unranked Iowa over #15 Michigan 24-16
With the Nebraska loss, Michigan of all teams had a chance to take control of the “Legends” division of the Big-10. Oops! Michigan had FOUR shots at winning this game at the end and missed on all four chances despite the statistically awful Iowa Red Zone defense. Now really in this game Iowa’s Defense came up big (holding Michigan to half of their average rushing yards per game). There were some questionable calls in this game from the officials, but this game should have never been this close. But, Iowa has now won a few in a row against Michigan and may be the Wolverine’s kryptonite.
Hey college football fans; care to take a guess at which team is leading the Big-10 right now? Think of a team you haven’t heard about all year… yeah, it’s Penn State! Penn State is sitting at 8-1 overall and 5-0 in the conference. Now, they’ve cruised through an easy schedule, and they still have a shot at winning out with: Nebraska at home, AT Ohio State and AT Wisconsin to make this a very interesting end to the year. Now, I don’t think they will win out because it’s the Big-10 in 2011, but there’s a chance.
PILLOW FIGHT OF THE WEEK:
Idaho over San Jose State 32-29
A classic WAC rivalry game. Idaho came in 1-7 (0-4) facing a San Jose State team that was sporting a beefy 3-5 (2-2) record. SJSU took a 22-10 lead into the 4th quarter and then just let it all slip away. Oh the dreams of a WAC championship may never come true for ol’ Sparty, Well unless Michigan State ever moves to this conference. Idaho’s only other win this year came against North Dakota in what I guess was their “fluff” game this year. Anyway, yeah, these were two crappy teams throwing feathers at one another in another Pillow Fight out west.
BEAT DOWN OF THE WEEK:
#18 Georgia over New Mexico State 63-16
Score not indicative of the beating the Dawgs laid down this week. Georgia was without their top three running backs due to either injury or suspensions and had to go with two walk-ons in the backfield on Saturday. It didn’t matter. Georgia scored 42 points in the second quarter and then pulled the starters for the second half. To Georgia’s credit they did only attempt 10 passes in the second half and since it was homecoming, they let some of the alumni from the women’s soccer team come out on the field and play defense in the 4th quarter just so NMS could get a score or two. (Only one of those statements was intended to be a fact).
THE BIG EAST CONFERENCE!
What the hell? West Virginia lost to Syracuse earlier and then hung on to a Top 25 ranking before losing to Louisville this week 38-35. This should give us a poll this week without a Big East team in it. Now, there are no criteria for stripping a conference of its automatic BCS bid. In fact, even if the Big East finishes with no teams in the Top 25, they would still have a representative in one of the BCS Bowls. Why? Because they were given one at the formation of the BCS and there are no clear criteria for stripping a conference of its bid unless they fail to have at least 8 teams playing football. That’s it. In fact if the Big East were denied a bid this year, they could file a huge insider lawsuit against the BCS. So essentially this rule at the formation of the BCS a few years ago keeps the Big East from slipping into national irrelevancy (at least as far as bowls go). Now, contracts will be renewed at the end of the 2013 season and things could change after that, but until then, the Big East is here to stay.
Now, that last part is important because all the conferences should be done with all this realignment by the end of the 2013 season. Boise State should have chosen a conference by then and maybe just maybe Notre Dame will join up somewhere as well. (We all know about the Notre Dame clause in the BCS). So, while the current system will force us to watch a crappy Big East “Champion” in a BCS bowl for the next two seasons, things will surely change in two years. We could see conferences like the SEC, Big Ten, and PAC-10 getting 2 automatic spots and the bowls being expanded to include more non-automatic qualifiers. We can hope against hope that the BCS will establish a play off, but let’s not get started on that this week. I don’t have the energy.