College Football Review: Week Eight
Week eight in college football was a tale of two different games.
On one hand there were teams who struggled to get wins. The other hand had teams that demolished their opponents.
While there were plenty of big upset chances, there was only one real big upset. This could be the year two surprise teams play for a title with the top teams not looking very dominant.
There were, however, some surprises this week, and one team played their hearts out for a fallen comrade. Streaks were broken, and one coach gets a vote of confidence, but why?
Here is a look back at week eight in college football.
Taking care of business
Here is a look at top 25 teams that did not wait to finish off their opponents.
Georgia Tech with some help now controls its own destiny after beating a Virginia team that looked much better after three straight wins. The Yellow Jackets are now atop the ACC Coastal standings and now just have to win out to play for a BCS game and maybe more.
In the Big 12 both Oklahoma State and Texas made quick work this weekend. The Cowboys took care of a punchless Baylor team without Robert Griffin. The Longhorns were so far ahead at the half against Missouri that the only question was why the Tigers made this game homecoming.
Not to be outdone, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh got into the act for the Big East. The Bearcats made short work of a bad Louisville team. The dream season continues for Cincinnati. The Panthers made sure South Florida’s annual midseason slide continues this season. The Bulls get a slight pass this season because of the injury to Matt Grothe.
Oregon took care not to look ahead to next week as they soundly beat a very improved Washington team in Seattle. The Ducks have the inside track for the Pac-10 title, but that could change this week.
The Big Ten also got into the blowout act in week eight. Penn State kept their slim conference title hopes alive with a win over a Michigan team that looked ready to contend for a Big Ten title this season. Ohio State took some of the heat off their quarterback and coach with a nice win over a lifeless Minnesota team.
The one-loss team with the best chance to get into the national championship race is LSU. The Tigers put a major beatdown on the Tigers from the Plains, Auburn. The loss by Auburn was the third in a row and could give Gene Chizik some heat. LSU has a chance to control its own destiny this week.
The only two teams with a chance to be a BCS buster also kept their hopes alive. TCU won the only matchup of top 25 teams, taking BYU behind the wood shed. Boise State went to the Aloha State and put the smackdown on the home team Hawaii.
Houston keeps a C-USA team in the polls. The Cougars beat a SMU team that was previously undefeated in conference play. Houston keeps its chance for a conference title alive.
The last two undefeated teams in the SEC both needed an escape in their respective games. Alabama need two blocked field goals by Terrence Cody, the last one on the final play of the game, to beat Tennessee. The Crimson Tide faces LSU in what could be the crowning of the SEC West title.
Florida was able to win in another error-prone game against Mississippi State. The Gators had not won in Starkville since 1985.
On the good side, if you are a fan of the Volunteers or Bulldogs, you have to be excited about the work Lane Kiffin and Dan Mullen have done so far.
In the Pac-10 Arizona was not able to put UCLA away for good until a final touchdown by the Wildcats with 34 seconds left in the third quarter gave them a 27-13 win over the Bruins. Arizona has a chance to win the conference title with games against the two teams above them in the standings still to play.
Speaking of one of the two teams ahead of Arizona in the Pac-10, USC needed to escape at home against Oregon State. The Trojans built a big first half lead against the Beavers only to hold on for a six-point win. USC meets Oregon with the winner in the driver’s seat for the conference title.
Utah has no hopes of a BCS game this season, but they do have a chance at a Mountain West title. The Utes needed overtime to beat the Falcons of Air Force. Utah still has a chance at a conference title and face a big game against TCU before the end of the season.
South Carolina needed their stout defense this week in conference action. The Gamecocks were never truly able to put away Vanderbilt but did escape with a victory. The South Carolina kept the Commodores winless in SEC play and put them in a must win situation for a bowl game the rest of this season.
While these teams escaped this week, one team has become the Harry Houdini of college football. No matter who they are playing, Iowa finds a way to win—no matter if it is a blocked field goal or holding off a last second drive. The Hawkeyes topped that his weekend with a touchdown on the last play of the game to beat Michigan State.
With the Spartans out of the way, Iowa only faces one last tough test.
Connecticut and West Virginia both honor Jasper Howard
The score might say the Mountaineers won a 28-24 contest over the Huskies, but this matchup was more than a football game. Connecticut took the field for the first time after Jasper Howard was stabbed to death after a homecoming win against Louisville.
A very emotional Huskies team was able to take a lead with 3:50 left to play in the fourth quarter. This team tried to hold on with Howard’s jersey and helmet on the sideline with them.
West Virginia played spoiler as Noel Devine scored the game-winning touchdown with 2:10 left to play. Mountaineers players and fans gave the Huskies a round of applause even in defeat. West Virginia’s fans, players, and coaches showed tremendous class before and after the game.
This win is brought to you by the number eight
The eight above is in reference to the eight turnovers by Nebraska in their loss to Iowa State. Four of the Cornhuskers' turnovers were committed inside the Cyclones' five-yard line.
Nebraska did all it could to give this game to Iowa State. The win has to be the biggest in first-year head coach Paul Rhoads' tenure at the school. The Cyclones won in Lincoln for the first time since 1977 and without its top two offensive stars. Iowa State was without quarterback Austen Arnaud and running back Alexander Robinson.
Nebraska had not committed this many turnovers since the 1972 game against Iowa State.
The Irish break a six-game losing streak
Notre Dame might have gone a long way toward extending the job security of head coach Charlie Weis. The Fighting Irish have more than lived up to the fighting part of their nickname.
Once again in a close game the Irish were able to prevail, winning this time over the Eagles of Boston College and snapping a six-game losing streak in the process.
Weis has yet to beat USC, but now he can say he has beaten Boston College. The Irish have played every game close but the first game. They have found a knack for winning the close games except against the Trojans and the Wolverines.
2009 Coach of the Year
In a year no one wants to win the Big 12 North—at least as far as the favorites go in Kansas, Nebraska, and Missouri—Bill Snyder has done what seemed impossible a year ago.
He has Kansas State in first place in the division. The Wildcats are sitting at 3-1 in conference and 5-3 overall.
In a year where the Big 12 looks to be down, the North division looks to have little chance against the South division once again in the conference title game. Snyder has to be the Coach of the Year if the Wildcats can win the division.
Most surprising score of the week
Texas A&M bounced back after a loss to Kansas State to win against Texas Tech. The win also snapped a three-game losing streak for the Aggies as well.
The Red Raiders had not lost to A&M in Lubbock since 1993. In one of the most up and down seasons in the Big 12, the Aggies' 52-30 win over the Red Raiders gave reason to raise eyebrows.
The 52 points is the most A&M has scored on a ranked Texas Tech team. The game served to further muddle the Big 12 conference.
Biggest upset of the week
The most schizophrenic team in college football proved it once more this week. Clemson, one of the most up and down teams in all of college football, pulled the biggest upset of the week.
The Tigers traveled to Florida and beat a top 10 team in the form of Miami. This game featured 12 lead changes and two tie—the last tie coming with five seconds left in the game to force overtime.
The win gave Clemson control of its own destiny in the Atlantic division, having beaten both Wake Forest and Boston College. The loss by Miami cost it more than its No. 10 ranking. It cost the Hurricanes the chance to control the Coastal division and handed the top spot to Georgia Tech.
Welcome back to the top 25 to Ole Miss. The Rebels had fallen out of the top 25 after losing to South Carolina and Alabama. A win over Kentucky put Mississippi back in the rankings again.
Duke did something this week it had not done since 1994. The Blue Devils won consecutive conference games, first over North Carolina State and next over Maryland. The win gave Duke renewed hope for a bowl game this season.
Ron Zook has yet to win a game against an FBS opponent this season. Illinois is 0-5 in Big Ten play and has only won one game all season. For this Zook gets told he will be back for the 2010 season. After a loss to Purdue and the way this team has looked throughout the season, Illini fans should ask why.
Northwestern rallied from 25 points down to beat Indiana. The Wildcats trailed 28-3 in the second quarter against the Hoosiers. Northwestern won the game with 21 seconds left on a 19-yard field goal for the 29-28 win.
Last, congratulations go to Florida State, which got its first conference win this week. Bobby Bowden spent the last few weeks answering questions about his future. The win will not make all the questions go away, but it will help. The Seminoles were able to continue to dominate North Carolina.
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