Making a Statement: A Look at Week Nine of College Football

Dan BurgesContributor INovember 1, 2009

STILLWATER, OK - OCTOBER 31:  Head coach Mack Brown of the Texas Longhorns watches the action in the fourth quarter against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Boone Pickens Stadium on October 31, 2009 in Stillwater, Oklahoma.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

My son is 19 months old (that’s just over a year and a half for the mathematically challenged) and got to enjoy his first “real” Halloween this year. 

At his school (a.k.a. daycare) they did a parade of costumes where each class would march through the other classes showing off their costumes in hope of spurring envy and jealousy from those who suddenly realized their outfits were no longer up to par.

In preparation for this event, my son fixated on donning his costume, hand crafted by his maternal grandmother, to strut his stuff around the school. Once outfitted and ready for action, he marched over to his teacher and declared, with the authority only a child can muster, “I’m cute.”  Even at such a young age, it is ingrained in the human psyche that sometimes you just need to make a statement.

Texas 41
Okie Lite 14

Oregon 47
USC 20

We’ll get to the Texas game shortly, but first, the .260 Hitters helmet sticker goes to the entire Oregon team. Those of you who’ve read my stuff for more than a week know that I have roughly zero love for the Ducks of Oregon, but man oh man, did they look good last night (uniforms not withstanding). 

Offense, defense, special teams, the Ducks had USC’s number on speed dial and had no problems proving they could ring it early and ring it often. Oregon threw up 613 yards of offense, 391 on the ground, begging the question, “Where is that ferocious USC defense we’ve all be hearing about?” 

The Ducks moved into the No. 8 spot in the BCS, touting the highest ranking for a team with a loss on their record.

The traditional second half offense of Texas showed up yet again in the first half. Amazing what happens when you play the entire four quarters. Those close games suddenly aren’t so close after all. Of course, having your defense rack up 14 on the scoreboard doesn’t hurt either, as the fleet of foot and hard hitting Texas defense showed the Okie Lite offense what concussions are all about.

They say defense wins championships, and the Longhorn defensive squad had quite a game. It was one of those stand over the receiver that’s lying on his back with stars in his eyes while you beat your chest and glare down with one of those “I recommend you just lie there, because that’s your new station in life,” kind of moments. And the voters agreed, catapulting Texas past Alabama whose been a bit shaky over the past few games.

If Texas is a second half team, then Iowa is fourth quarter team. Having been trailing at the end of three periods in four games this season, the Hawkeyes remain undefeated, putting up 28 in the fourth against the Hoosiers. Now, in defense of Indiana, they are only used to playing two periods on hardwood, so they may have been a bit miffed when they were told there’s a third and fourth period to be played as well.

Even with the routing by 18, Iowa is teetering on losing some BCS love as the Hawkeyes have come entirely too close to defeat at the hands of Northern Iowa, Arkansas State, Michigan State, and now Indiana. Hardly inspires national title confidence, but be that as it may, the Hawkeyes figure out a way to win, that’s more than 113 NCAA Divison 1 teams (what is this FBS nonsense?) can say.

The Domers beat up on Washington State. LSU trounced Tulane, and I’m sure someone watched, or at least noticed.

TCU beat the rebellion out of UNLV, sticking it to them 41 – 0. Ouch. I’m not saying it should have been close, but shutouts are relatively uncommon in college football, especially in conference play, but I suppose they do happen. Anybody want to sign up to face TCU in a bowl game?  Anyone?  Bueller?  Bueller?

Virginia Tech continues to swirl down the drain of mediocrity.  After losing a close one to Georgia Tech, the two-loss Hokies apparently decided that fight and tenacity was no longer a commodity they wanted to deal in, as they were unable to “shock the world” in true Florida State style, losing to North Carolina (yes, in football). The Tar Heels pulled the ole “kick a field goal with 0:00 left on the clock” trick, ending the game 17 – 14.

Other regulars at .260 Hitters know that I have had a slight affinity for Ohio State based solely on an ESPN commercial featuring the crazy guy from the movie “Hoosiers.”  In the commercial he’s a janitor in the Buckeye locker room, running around, smelling players’ shoes, and explaining how the Buckeye helmet stickers are awarded. It was nonsensical; perfect to capture the imagination of a 10-year-old, and since that’s roughly where my mental development ended, the affinity has remained.

That is until the sweater vest decided to try for an onside kick during the 45–0 routing of New Mexico State.  Bye bye class and respect, hello Tressel now ranking among Nick Saban, Les Miles, Dennis Franccione and Rich Rodriguez as one of the most unlikeable coaches in the NCAA. An onside kick?  Really? Don’t give me that “we were working on our special teams” excuse. Show some class. You used to. And don’t take out your 0–9 record against the SEC frustration on New Mexico State, it’s not their fault…it’s yours.

Vandy kept things relatively close and interesting until the second half of the game when the Jackets decided they had had enough of these shenanigans and took matters into their own hands (i.e. 28–3 scoring drive after intermission), routing the Commodores (I can’t say (type) their name without laughing every time) 56–31.

South Florida took care of business against formerly ranked West Virginia on Friday night, winning 30–19.  South Florida is that one team this year that I keep trying to show some props to only to be let down, just in time for them to come roaring back and destroying some team they have no business beating. They are kind of like the Big Eleven this year, nobody can figure them out.

Speaking of the Big Eleven, Michigan is back, but gets demolished by (1–6, now 2–6) Illinois. Iowa is BCS national title bound, but can’t help but come within a nose hair of losing to teams you’ve never heard of. Penn State has dominated every team they have played, yet got it handed to them by Iowa. Purdue is the worst team in the nation with regards to turnovers, sporting a 3–6 record, and just had their backsides polished by Wisconsin 37–0, yet embarrassed Ohio State 26–18.

Quantum physics is more straightforward than the Big Eleven this year, but what should you expect from a conference that can’t even count how many teams are on its logo?

Congrats to Texas A&M. You aren’t the worst team in the Big 12, and let’s be honest, there are several teams fighting for that honor…but don’t look now, you still have to play Baylor and Colorado.