Every week of the college football season there tends to be some attrition within the ranks of the unbeaten. This weekend proved to be no different, as it seemed like there were an unusually high amount of teams getting handed their first loss.
Most notable of these teams are Ole Miss, Cal, and Miami (Fla.), who will all be coming out of the Top 10 on Monday morning.
Let’s start with the Ole Miss Runnin’ Rebels, who proved to be a good bit overrated, especially on the offensive side of the ball, in their 16-10 letdown against the South Carolina Gamecocks in Columbia on Thursday night.
Heisman darkhorse Jevan Snead looked like anything but that as he was a miserable 7-of-21 for 107 yards and one long TD pass that brought the slimmest amount of credibility to his lackluster performance.
Tailback Dexter McCluster wasn’t much better, as he was limited to 15 carries for 85 yards, in part due to the good pressure put on the Rebs’ O-Line by a strong South Carolina rush.
The surprise of the game would definitely have to be the strong play of Gamecocks QB Stephen Garcia, who wasn’t spectacular, but did what he had to do in order to give his team only its second win in 34 tries against Top 5 opponents, and the program’s first in 27 years.
Steve Spurrier desperately needed this win to prove that he has improved South Carolina football since taking the reins and to show that they have the potential to wreak some havoc in an always competitive SEC.
Moving into today’s games, it’s very hard to say that the Cal Golden Bears weren’t looking past Oregon because they basically stayed in Berkeley for this one, as the Ducks derailed the sixth-ranked team in the country, 42-3.
Jeremiah Masoli was spectacular, going 21-of-25 for 253 yards and 3 TDs (all to his favorite target in Ed Dickson).
Major kudos to the Oregon defense in this one, though, as Jahvid Best was almost a complete non-factor, as he was limited to 55 yards on the ground by a team that now has a couple of wins under its belt to help forget their season-opening losses to Boise State, and yes, I meant losses, lest we forget LeGarrette Blount.
The last game that really impacts the early-season look at the rankings was the biggest game of the weekend. Apparently, Virginia Tech forgot that this game was supposed to be the statement win for the Miami Hurricanes in the ACC and their entry into serious consideration for the BCS because the Hokies dominated from start to finish in an impressive 31-7 beatdown of the ‘Canes.
Va. Tech won it exactly the way a Frank Beamer coached team usually wins games with a suffocating defense that held the ‘Canes to 209 total yards of offense, combined with a physical and grinding rushing attack that tallied 272 total yards of offense and 2 TD’s.
After it looked like the loss to Alabama ended hopes of a national title run and as much as they struggled against Nebraska last week, the Hokies proved once again to be the class of the ACC this year, leaving no doubt in this one, especially with the losses for Florida State and North Carolina today.
Embarrassment Alert: At the time of this post, the Greg Paulus-led Syracuse Orange are trailing the Maine Black Bears 17-13.
If this one falls in favor of Maine, then I think we can finally agree to say that the grand experiment of bringing in a guy who hasn’t played football since his senior year of high school is a complete failure.
Also, keep an eye out west, where Cal Poly leads San Jose State, but we’ll cut the Spartans some slack because they are the sacrificial lambs for the USC’s and Cal’s of the world, so they don’t know how to play to win games.