Winners and Losers from College Football Week 10
Week 10 of the college football season was another beauty.
It included everything you expect your Saturdays to be filled with, as we had a couple of overtime games, thrilling finishes, teams nearly pulling off shocking upsets and great football games being played around the country.
But like every football game, there are winners and losers, and this week is certainly no different. A few players didn't play up to par, some teams continued to disappoint and coaches on the hot seat are simply not living up to expectations. On the bright side, a few players rose to the occasion, many teams did get the job done and a milestone was reached by a head coach this afternoon.
With Week 10 quickly coming to an end, let's take a look at some of its winners and losers.
You have got to be kidding me.
Right when it seems like the Alabama Crimson Tide are going to lose a game, Nick Saban digs into his bag of tricks and finds a way to win. Calling a screen pass on a blitz absolutely caught the LSU defense off guard and resulted in a 28-yard touchdown pass to running back T.J. Yeldon.
Alabama wins the game, 21-17.
You can say the Tigers outplayed the Crimson Tide in this game, and you would probably be right, but this is a team that simply does not panic and is so well-coached that it is never really out of a game.
Now that Alabama improves to 9-0, the road to the BCS national championship just got a little easier. LSU was that ultimate test standing in the way, and like Saban usually does, he was able to pass the test and keep his team unbeaten.
Loser: LSU Play-Calling
So let me get this straight.
You have a 17-14 lead with a little over a minute left to play in the game. You know that a touchdown beats you, but allowing a field goal, at the very worst, would send the game into overtime, giving you another chance to win the game. Knowing this, you would like to keep everything underneath and force the Crimson Tide into kicking the game-tying field goal.
But LSU decides to send multiple defenders in on the blitz, leaving very few players to defend the screen thrown by A.J. McCarron. Once T.J. Yeldon caught the ball, he could have run backwards and still scored the game-winning touchdown.
Why a blitz was called in that situation, I will not understand for the life of me.
Head coach Les Miles has never been known to play it safe, and it likely cost his team a chance to climb back into the BCS national championship picture.
Winner: Kenjon Barner
It is amazing how somebody like De'Anthony Thomas is credited for a lot of the Ducks' success, while Kenjon Barner isn’t as talked about as much as he should be. Maybe his performance in the victory over the USC Trojans will get his name in those Heisman races.
The senior back set an Oregon rushing record with 321 rushing yards and scored five touchdowns. He averaged over eight yards a carry and really put this Ducks offense on his back from the beginning, as he scored two touchdowns in the first half.
Barner now has well over 1,000 rushing yards on the year and has done quite a nice job of replacing former starter LaMichael James, who happened to be in attendance.
So much for a Pac-12 title, Heisman Trophy or BCS national championship.
With the 62-51 loss to the Oregon Ducks, USC now has three losses on the season and may not even be a lock to reach the Pac-12 championship game at this point. The defense couldn’t slow down a parked car, quarterback Matt Barkley is looking as shaky as ever for an early-season Heisman front-runner and the overall team is just flat-out disappointing.
Speaking of defense, we have witnessed history tonight, according to ESPN Stats and Info:
Oregon has done it. 62 points are the most scored by a team against USC. Ever. #OREvsUSC— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 4, 2012
Head coach Lane Kiffin has to be concerned about his job security, because if he can’t win with this team, what is he actually going to accomplish next year?
Winner: Braxton Miller
Braxton Miller had fallen off the map a little bit the last couple of weeks, as he left the Purdue game with an injury and wasn’t himself against Penn State. In the 52-22 victory over Illinois this afternoon, Miller threw for 226 yards, rushed for 73 and scored three touchdowns.
He helped the Buckeyes manage over 550 total yards on the offensive side of the ball and was able to put together probably the easiest victory of the year for his team.
If the sophomore is able to continue this type of play, the 2013 season is looking even brighter for head coach Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes.
The Colorado Buffaloes now drop to 1-8 on the season with a 48-0 loss to the Stanford Cardinal. The team is struggling mightily on both sides of the ball and looks like it doesn’t even want to be on the football field.
To add a little salt in the wound, ESPN Stats and Info released this nugget earlier in the day.
Colorado is 1st Pac-12 team ever to allow 30+ points in 8 straight games in a single season— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 3, 2012
We knew Pac-12 defense was bad, but that is taking things to a whole new level.
Winner: Middle Tennessee State
The Blue Raiders have only been in the Sun Belt Conference since 2000 but are returning to the bowl season for the third time in four years. Middle Tennessee State clinched its sixth victory with a 34-29 win over Western Kentucky.
What makes this accomplishment so amazing is that this is a team that only won two games all of last year. Now, the Blue Raiders have locked up a bowl game and are fighting for the Sun Belt title with teams such as Arkansas State and Louisiana-Monroe.
Looks like head coach Rick Stockstill is going to need a raise once this season is over with.
Loser: Virginia Tech
What in the world has happened to head coach Frank Beamer's team?
With the 30-12 loss to the Miami Hurricanes, Virginia Tech has now lost four of its last five and doesn’t seem the least bit interested in turning things around. What makes things even worse for the Hokies is that four of the five losses are against unranked teams.
Virginia Tech couldn’t get going on the offensive side of the ball, as quarterback Logan Thomas threw two interceptions and the team couldn’t find any momentum on the defense. A team that we are used to seeing qualify for BCS bowls is now in danger of missing a bowl game altogether.
Winner: Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M
If you needed any more proof that quarterback Johnny Manziel is the real deal, just look at what he did against Mississippi State on Saturday. The freshman quarterback threw for 311 yards, rushed for 129 and scored two touchdowns in the 38-13 victory over the Bulldogs.
Forget Denard Robinson, Braxton Miller or Collin Klein; it appears that the nation's best dual-threat quarterback plays for Texas A&M.
Speaking of the Aggies, the team now has victories over two ranked clubs and could easily have an undefeated record right now. Let's not forget this squad lost to both Florida and LSU by one possession, which just goes to show how competitive this team could be in the future.
I think the SEC has itself another top dog in the conference.
Loser: Florida Gators
All right, I get it.
Struggling to consistently move the football against South Carolina and Georgia is one thing, but being outgained by the Missouri Tigers is another. Florida only had 276 total yards, while the Tigers produced 335, including 236 passing yards.
Sure, the Gators ended up winning the game by a score of 14-7, which keeps them alive in the SEC title hunt, but they only scored two touchdowns against Missouri. Yes, that's the same team that was beaten down by the SEC's other elite programs this year, Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama.
Florida continues to win ugly, but I'm not sure how long that can actually continue. This winning close stuff can't be good for a team that was thinking BCS national championship just a week ago.
Winner: Notre Dame
Notre Dame continues to find ways to win ugly, but Irish fans aren't complaining now that their team has improved to a perfect 9-0 record. The Irish needed three overtimes to knock off a feisty Pittsburgh Panthers team, but the end result was a 29-26 victory.
Notre Dame continued its turnover habit that it dealt with the last two seasons, as the team turned the ball over three times in the game, but a victory will do just fine for the squad that was ranked No. 3 in the country heading into this matchup.
We can talk all day about the things the Irish must improve on, but Notre Dame remains undefeated, and those national championship hopes are looking better than ever.
Loser: Denard Robinson
This has been an up-and-down season for the Michigan Wolverines quarterback, and it may have hit rock bottom this week for the senior star. Denard Robinson was scratched from the starting lineup against Minnesota as he continues to recover from an injury he suffered last week against Nebraska.
Backup Devin Gardner, who has played wide receiver for Michigan this season, ended up completing 12 of 18 passes for 234 yards and a pair of touchdowns in Robinson's absence.
While I know the leader of the team is happy the Wolverines ended up winning the game fairly easily, this can't be the way Robinson wanted his senior season to go. Hopefully he can quickly recover from this injury and get back on the field, as college football is much better with him playing quarterback.
Winner: Teddy Bridgewater
Don't look now, but Louisville is now sitting pretty with a 9-0 record.
A huge reason for the Cardinals' success is quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. He came into the game against Temple completing 70 percent of his passes, and although he is only a sophomore, he has quickly become the leader of the football team.
In the 45-17 victory over the Owls, Bridgewater completed 68 percent of his throws, and five of his 19 completions went for touchdowns. It was easily the best game of his young career and should put him on the map for Heisman consideration heading into next season.
The Louisville quarterback is the real deal and somebody you should get to know if you don't already.
Congrats, Kentucky fans—you have now become the SEC's worst football program.
With the 40-0 loss to Vanderbilt today, the Wildcats now drop to 1-9 on the season, which includes an 0-7 record against SEC competition.
Vanderbilt is a program made up of future doctors, lawyers and journalists, and it went into Kentucky and gave the Wildcats the beatdown of their lives.
Seriously, couldn't they have made a field goal or something?
Well, I guess this isn't going to be such a big deal with basketball season beginning in a week.
Winner: Marlin Lane
Sophomore running back Marlin Lane ran for 132 yards and two touchdowns in the Tennessee Volunteers victory over the Troy Trojans. It was also his nine-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter that sealed the deal, as Troy was surprisingly keeping up with the SEC program.
This is the first game of his career where Lane rushed for over 100 yards, and the touchdowns were his first of the season. But on top of all the individual accomplishments, his performance likely saved head coach Derek Dooley's job.
Could you have imagined what things would have been like if Tennessee lost to a Sun Belt program?
Lane gets two game balls for that alone.
Loser: Tom O'Brien
North Carolina State head coach Tom O'Brien is on the verge of losing his job. The Wolfpack were supposed to be one of the surprise teams in the ACC this year, but despite upsetting Florida State last month, nothing much has been accomplished.
The program has now lost two games in a row, including a 33-6 loss Saturday to the Virginia Cavaliers, a team that had lost six straight before this meeting. The coach has had success the last couple of seasons with the program, but a 5-4 record so far isn't what fans were hoping for in 2012.
Much like Kentucky, fans have likely given up all hope for this football program and are patiently waiting for basketball to tip off.
Army will fall short of a bowl game for the second year in a row, but the Black Knights have at least ended a long, devastating streak over a longtime rival.
The program was able to knock off Air Force, which ended a six-game losing streak against the Falcons that included four losses by at least 20 points. It wasn't a pretty performance, but due to five forced turnovers and a 100-yard rushing performance by quarterback Trent Steelman, the team was able to pull it off.
Beating Navy should be next on head coach Rich Ellerson's list, as the program has lost the last 10 games to the Midshipmen. Those two historic teams will play each other this season on December 8, which should make for an interesting matchup.
Loser: West Virginia
Remember when West Virginia was supposed to be the cream of the crop in the Big 12 and a national championship contender?
Yeah, me neither.
The Mountaineers have now lost three straight games, with the most recent loss at the hands of TCU in double overtime. The Horned Frogs decided to go for a two-point conversion in the second overtime and converted on a Trevone Boykin pass, which gave the team a 39-38 victory.
West Virginia will now likely fall out of the BCS rankings and lose pretty much all hope of returning to a BCS bowl. Things also don't get any easier for this club, as teams such as Oklahoma State and Oklahoma remain on the schedule.
Winner: Shawn Petty
Shawn Petty was Saturday's starting quarterback for the Maryland Terrapins, as the team had suffered season-ending injuries to the previous four starting signal-callers. In a losing effort to Georgia Tech, Petty completed 50 percent of his passes for two touchdowns and one interception. He also picked up 24 yards on the ground.
Did I forget to mention that he was a 6'1", 230-pound linebacker before switching positions?
He may not be the best option to lead your offense, but two touchdowns and a 50 percent completion rate is pretty good for the freshman defensive player. The word around town is that are some other teams are going to begin trying this as early as this upcoming week.
When all else fails, you make one of the biggest guys on the roster your starting quarterback. It might actually work just fine.
Loser: Mississippi State
The Bulldogs are who we thought they were!
Mississippi State has now lost two straight after starting the season off with seven straight victories. The most recent loss came to Texas A&M, as the Aggies walked into the Bulldogs' house and administered a 38-13 beatdown.
This loss now makes the team a combined 2-14 against ranked clubs since the 2009 season.
With LSU and Arkansas on tap in the next couple of weeks, the Bulldogs are in great danger of falling out of the BCS rankings altogether.
Winner: David Ash
David Ash is a really weird quarterback.
He was absolutely brutal last season, began this year on a tear, went back into his hole for a couple of games and then threw for 264 yards and three scores in a victory over Texas Tech. This can't be the same quarterback that threw zero touchdowns and two interceptions against Kansas just seven days ago.
The victory over the Red Raiders will keep the Longhorns inside the BCS Top 25, as the program improves to 7-2 on the season. It also leaves hope for a possible BCS bowl if the team can continue to win out.
Loser: Kevin Harper
Kickers are a lot like attorneys, as you never really appreciate them until you really need a good one. Pittsburgh kicker Kevin Harper had a chance to be a hero and crush Notre Dame's national championship hopes with just one swing of the leg.
The game was all tied up in the second overtime when Pittsburgh recovered a fumble, giving the Panthers the ball back with a chance to win. The coaching staff called on the senior kicker for a chance to win the game, and he ended up missing a 33-yard attempt.
Just like that, Irish haters everywhere will never be able to forgive the kicker that had a chance to flush Notre Dame's season down the drain.
Winner: Bill O'Brien
Bill O'Brien could have easily stayed with the New England Patriots and racked up Super Bowl appearances. Instead, he took over Penn State at the worst possible time, replacing a head coach that was probably the most irreplaceable figure in the entire sport.
He lost scholarships, lost key players and has been dealing with constant distractions throughout his first year at Happy Valley.
His team is now 6-3 this season after a 34-9 victory over the Purdue Boilermakers in Ross-Ade Stadium. If you had told me that the Nittany Lions would find a way to win six of their first nine games, I would have called you a liar.
As long as O'Brien continues to make miracles happen, he will listed as a winner each week.
Loser: Texas Tech
Contender or pretender—that is the question.
It seems like every time we are ready to believe in the Texas Tech Red Raiders, the team lets us down and goes back to being an ordinary Big 12 team. Wins over West Virginia and TCU were great, but now the team has lost to Kansas State and Texas in back-to-back weeks. Despite finishing with seven more first downs, Texas Tech lost to the Longhorns for the fourth straight season.
I guess head coach Tommy Tuberville still has a ways to go before this team can be taken seriously as a national contender.
For now, we have to label the Red Raiders pretenders the rest of the way.
Winner: Taylor Martinez
I have no idea what quarterback Taylor Martinez was doing during the offseason, but it has worked. He went from being one of the more inconsistent quarterbacks in the country to somebody who will kill you with his arm or legs.
Michigan State decided to put pressure on the junior signal-caller, and he burned the team for 205 yards on the ground and two touchdowns. He racked up four total touchdowns and led the Cornhuskers to a 28-24 victory, which means the Spartans still have yet to beat this program in their history.
Who had Nebraska as the top team in the Big Ten this season?
I don't care if Arkansas won the game against Tulsa this afternoon; that is what SEC programs are supposed to do. I have a problem with how close the game was, as the Razorbacks won by a score of 19-15, proving that something is seriously wrong down there in Fayetteville.
It is bizarre how a team that was picked by many to win the SEC this season barely beat a C-USA club that is usually only competitive against other subpar teams within its conference.
The good news is that Arkansas is amazingly still alive to clinch a bowl game, but with the way things are going, you would be foolish to take that bet, especially with the next three games on the schedule taking place against ranked teams.
My, how the mighty have fallen.
Winner: Bob Stoops
Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops may receive a lot of criticism for how his team performs in big games, but you can't deny the guy's track record. He has produced one national championship, has seven Big 12 championships to his name and has led the Sooners to eight BCS bowls.
After the latest victory over Iowa State, Stoops has now tied legendary head coach Bud Wilkinson for the second-most victories in school history (145). He is now only 12 wins away from tying Barry Switzer for the most victories in Oklahoma history.
Something tells me that Stoops will become the winningest coach for this program sooner than later.
Loser: Tyler Bitancurt
I know we picked on West Virginia earlier in this article, but the Mountaineers may have actually won the game against TCU if the field-goal kicker could actually do his job. Senior kicker Tyler Bitancurt missed not one field goal, but four, which of course doesn’t help your team in the win column.
West Virginia becomes just the second team to have a kicker miss four field-goal attempts this season.
I guess he wasn’t used to kicking field goals, as the Mountaineers are so great at scoring touchdowns? Maybe we should give him a little credit, as he might have forgotten what his job was because he is so used to siting on the sidelines and never seeing any action.
But four misses is a little bit ridiculous.
Winner: Terrance Williams
Kendall Wright was considered the top wide receiver on this Baylor team a season ago, but Terrance Williams is making a name for himself this year.
The senior wideout has now gone five straight games with at least 100 receiving yards, including a 137-yard performance in today’s victory over Kansas.
In fact, there has only been one game all year where Williams hasn’t hit the century mark, and he is looking more and more like a future NFL player.
It was his 11 receptions and big-play ability that helped the Baylor Bears end their four-game losing streak and get back in the win column.
Loser: Kansas State
No, Kansas State did not get upset by Oklahoma State. In fact, it handled the Cowboys fairly easily in the 44-30 victory.
However, quarterback Collin Klein left the game with an apparent arm injury and did not return. It is still unclear how serious this injury may be, but the senior quarterback is obviously the leader of this team and a huge part of why the Wildcats are in such a great position.
While we hope this injury is nothing serious, losing Klein for a significant amount of time could seriously affect this team's national championship hopes.