There's a line from the HBO series The Wire that says (referring to a football game) "neither team is winning; one team is just losing more slowly."
Truer words have never been spoken, especially with regards to this year's Red River Shootout, as the both teams combined for eight turnovers (five for OU, three for the Texas) and -16 yards rushing for the Sooners in a game so sloppy it should have been played in the pouring rain, not on a clear sunny day.
The difference in the game was McCoy scrambling (only a truly insightful sports writer could have predicted that), as the Longhorns were able to hold off the Sooners for a longer period of time, retaining more points on the scoreboard when time ran out. The finish keeps Texas en route to the BCS title game, but they won’t be able to afford any repeat performances as other undefeated teams are making waves and Big XII foes, such as Oklahoma State, Kansas and Nebraska may not be as forgiving as the Sooners were.
For the second time in three weeks an SEC officiating crew (synonymous with cowards, yellow, and pond scum) inserted themselves into a game, ensuring the home team escaped a potential upset. With time running out, Florida managed to drive 45 yards on two plays and two phantom 15-yard penalties for the easy score, thwarting Arkansas' upset bid. As the referee crew received the game ball, the voters took notice, dropping the Gators to No. 2 in the AP Poll and Tebow from Heisman ballots.
Charlie Weis stated on Friday that his boys “believed that they could win.” Well, I believe that one day the Vikings will call looking for a 5’10’’, 200-pound linebacker to start, but that doesn’t mean it will happen. The Domers did make it a game though, getting edged out by seven. And even though the Irish did play a decent game, and might even finish the season with a winning record, they face BC next weekend, and we all know whose side God will be on for that game.
Boise State survived a fourth-quarter surge by the Tulsa Golden Hurricane. The Broncos, who many argue are the most undeserving team in the top 10 based on their toughest game being against Oregon at home, faced what was likely to be their last chance at a loss en route to a BCS at large bid. No. 16 TCU (6-0) is likely the only thing standing in Boise State’s way. With a significantly more difficult (i.e. legitimate) schedule, the Horned Frogs have a tough row to hoe before the bright lights of January should even cross their mind, but Boise certainly sees the men in purple coming up behind them.
The Big Winners
There certainly weren’t many this week.
Cincinnati took care of business in South Florida, running away with a 34 – 17 win over the Bulls. A balanced offense comprised of 212 yards passing and 189 yards rushing, Cincinnati wore down the opposing defense. They broke loose in the fourth quarter with a 10-0 run to cap an efficient night that put the Bearcats into the BCS top five.
Iow a, I mean, No. 6 Iowa, took care of business in Madison, dispatching the Badgers 20-10, catapulting themselves into the Big 10 driver's seat and the AP top 10. While they still have Ohio State to face, we’ve already seen that might not be much of a challenge.
TCU had a bit of an easy game, but their 44-6 victory over Colorado State was a great warm-up for their biggest challenge in the Mountain West (BYU), who they face-off against next week.
Texas Tech . I have no idea who picked Nebraska to beat Texas Tech this weekend (everybody), but the Red Raiders apparently took it personally, drubbing the No. 15 Corn Huskers 31-10, vaulting the desert pirates into the AP Top 25 for the first time since January.
The Big Losers
Ohio State. Good lord, what happened? The Boilermakers made an example out of Ohio State that no team is safe, and no game is a sure thing. Purdue, who led the country in turnovers this season, took a 14-0 third quarter all the way to the bank as Terrell Prior, arguably the biggest disappointment of the year, proved to be ineffective.
Sam Bradford. If there’s a lesson to be learned from the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, it’s cash in when your stock has peaked. Two shoulder injuries in his last less-than-three quarters of playing time isn’t exactly sending the scouts flocking to Bradford’s door, which is an especially tough pill to swallow for a guaranteed first-round draft pick last year.
Virginia Tech saw their BCS title dreams swirl down the bowl as Georgia Tech took their home field advantage and finished the game 28-23. With their season-opening loss to Alabama all but forgotten, the Hokies were in the driver’s seat to a BCS bowl—and potentially the title game—but the Yellow Jackets now run their division, with UVA, Vandy, Wake, Duke, and Georgia left on their schedule.
Kansas. How on earth do you lose to 1 -4 Colorado? Well, the Jayhawks found a way. After a week of messages from Reesing and Mangino begging the student body to quit leaving the games at halftime (KU is a basketball school, ya know?), the Jayhawks just figured winning wasn’t their thing after all, losing to the worst BCS conference team west of Iowa.
Texas A&M. Where heart, pride and internal fortitude just isn’t their thing.
In a week where Alabama was the only team in the top seven that won by double digits, the lines between the “Haves” and “Have Nots” are as blurry as ever. No team is safe, and this year’s mix of BCS bowls could have some very interesting names. While expectations remain high for big names atop the leaderboard, other proper nouns such as Cincinnati, Boise State, Iowa and Texas Christian have worked their way into the mix and are proving a force to be reckoned with.